Mouth breathing is often the body’s response to difficulty or inability to breath through the nose, usually due to an airway obstruction. Airway obstructions can be caused by:
• Enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids
• Underdeveloped nasal passages
• A deviated nasal septum
• Nasal blockage caused by swollen tissue or other obstructions such a polyps
• Chronic sinusitis
Mouth breathing can also be habitual in nature and may have started with a prior obstruction.
Mouth breathers often show decreased levels of oxygen in their blood. These low levels of oxygen can cause fatigue and slowed development. Children who breath through their mouths may show either abnormally small or large appetites due to difficulty in swallowing or tasting foods. Mouth breathing can alter a child’s quality of life.
What to look for:
Along with the physical symptoms, mouth breathers will show an open mouth for most of the day. At night, they often snore and are heavy sleepers. Often, their breathing is audible or labored.