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Mouth Breathing & Oral Health

Mouth breathing at night while you sleep may not seem like a big area of concern, but when considering one’s oral health, especially when it comes to children and their healthy facial and other development, mouth breathing can be a significant issue.

Mouth breathing is most commonly due to a condition called chronic nasal obstruction. This happens when the body is unable to get enough oxygen by breathing through the nose. When this happens, the body is forced to get the oxygen it needs through the mouth.

Mouth breathing leads to a host of oral health problems, including dry mouth and decreased saliva production. As saliva is essential for neutralizing acid and removal of bacteria within the mouth and on the teeth, the likelihood of tooth decay is increased. Dry mouth also causes gum disease that not only affects your oral health, but also leads to serious health issues that include stroke and heart disease.

Especially in children, mouth breathing leads to poor sleep, improper facial development, and lower oxygen concentration in the blood. The poor posturing that is developed by chronic mouth breathing can also alter airway anatomy in developing children and lead to a host of health and developmental issues down the road.

It can be hard to diagnose whether you are a mouth breather or not. If you are unsure of whether you mouth breathe when sleeping, here are a few common signs and symptoms of chronic mouth breathers:

-Dry Lips

-Chronic Bad Breath

-Common ear or sinus infections, or regular head colds

-Crowded teeth

-Snoring/open mouth while sleeping

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it is likely that you are a mouth breather.

If you suspect that you or your child is a mouth breather, it is best to discuss this concern with our office as early as possible so we can help identify the root issue and identify the best course of treatment. There are a number of options for treating mouth breathers, depending on the root issue, but early recognition and treatment can prevent a lifetime of complications.

River Valley Smile Center is your family’s partner for long-term dental health and is here to help you and your family maintain optimal oral health for a lifetime. To schedule an appointment, call our friendly office staff at 479.646.0706 or, for your convenience, fill out an appointment request here:




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