Are you Paying Attention to how your Child Breathes?

how your child breathes matters

how your child breathes mattersServing Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN

As a parent, you probably pay attention to various aspects of your child’s life to make sure they are growing and developing at their best—monitoring things like what they eat, how they do in school, and how much sleep they get at night. However, did you ever pay attention to the way your child breathes? If you don’t know, you aren’t alone. Many parents cannot identify how their child breathes, or realize that frequently breathing through the mouth could have significant consequences on both health and development of their child.

Nasal breathing is considered the preferred method by medical science

When you breathe through the nose, you take more shallow breaths that take longer to complete. This process allows for greater oxygenation of the blood, allowing the nervous system to remain in a parasympathetic state: i.e., a state of relaxation that makes it easier for your body to perform many of its involuntary functions. Breathing through the nose should be silent, take place on a steady rhythm, and appear to be virtually effortless.

Mouth breathing has more consequences than you might think

Breathing through the mouth may be indicative of sinus congestion, but if it often occurs in your child, mouth breathing might impact the immune system, posture, performance in school, emotional control, and even alter the structure of your child’s face. Some of the ramifications of mouth breathing are just minor inconveniences—like frequently having dry lips or mouth—but this habit also can change the way a child’s face grows, leading to a poorly developed facial structure and even weak, underdeveloped jaws, and a narrow dental arch.

When a person breathes through the mouth, this causes the cheek muscles to become taut. When these muscles tighten, an additional, external force is exerted on the jaws. Applied frequently over time, this additional force can narrow the dental arches and lengthen the structure of the face. Another consequence of these external forces is that the tongue, which ideally rests against the roof of the mouth, drops down to the floor of the mouth instead, which causes the upper dental arch to develop in a narrow fashion, and may lead to crooked teeth, an overbite or underbite, as well as health issues such as obstructive sleep apnea.

Recognize the signs of mouth breathing

As you have seen, a wide variety of behaviors or problems can develop as a consequence of mouth breathing. Some of these issues include snoring, sleep apnea, problems concentrating or remembering, poor performance in school, more frequent sinus problems, heightened allergies, seemingly always being sick, swollen tonsils and/or adenoids, or the presence of dark circles under the eyes.

Myofunctional therapy in Knoxville

Do you know what an orofacial myofunctional disorder is? This phrase might be a mouthful, but it refers to any problem stemming from a dysfunction in the musculature of the mouth and face. Myofunctional therapy can resolve an OMD and other issues that developed from it. This therapy consists of performing a series of simple, comfortable exercises that work the tongue, in combination with the muscles of the mouth and face. One of the goals of myofunctional therapy is to achipyeve, or restore, optimum oral resting posture; this means having the lips together, teeth together, and the tongue resting gently against the upper palate. This oral resting posture also is much more conducive to breathing through the nose.

Choto Family Dentistry is proud to offer myofunctional therapy as part of our total range of services. To learn more about this therapy and its benefits, call our office at (865) 269-6688 to schedule a consultation.

Choto Family Dentistry serves the oral health needs of patients in Knoxville, as well as the surrounding areas of Choto and Northshore.