5 Reasons Why Your Child is a Mouth Breather
Noses are made for breathing; mouths are for eating, talking and laughing. Is it really a problem your child is a mouth breather? Yessiree, there are a host of reasons to avoid the insidious practice of mouth breathing, particularly for children. Long-term mouth breathing can lead to teeth grinding, misaligned teeth, frequent coughs and colds, enlarged tonsils, gum disease, dental decay, sleep apnoea and even behavioural problems.
Allergies to dust mite, animal dander, grasses, pollen and mould inflame and swell mucous membranes lining the nasal cavity and sinuses. As the nose becomes blocked, mouth breathing takes over. Avoid or remove allergens wherever possible. Use a saline nasal rinse each day – there are child size rinse bottles available from pharmacies. Buteyko breathing will calm the nasal passages and reduce inflammation in the long term.
If, in the past, your child found difficulty breathing through their nose for a short period of time, perhaps because of a head cold, mouth breathing can then become habitual, even if the nose is now clear. The test is if your child can comfortably breathe through their nose, with mouth closed, for 2 minutes, then there is no issue with the nose. Keep encouraging your child to close their mouth and breathe only through their nose.
3. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
Tonsils and adenoids are lymph tissue located at the back of the throat and behind the nose. When infected and or enlarged they may partially block the airway, causing your child to mouth breathe. Paradoxically, enlarged tonsils may occur because of mouth breathing. Membranes lining the nasal cavity are the first filter for bacteria and viruses. Mouth breathing bypasses this filter, sends all the bugs straight to the tonsils and lungs.
The sinuses are air filled spaces in the bones of the face, when the linings of the sinuses become infected or inflamed, mucous is produced, causing headaches and congestion, often blocking the nose. Herbs such as Eyebright, Golden Seal and Garlic are excellent. Regular use of a saline nasal rinse will help prevent sinusitis from occurring. Buteyko breathing will help prevent sinusitis in the long term. Click here for more on treating sinusitis naturopathically.
5. Deviated septum
The septum, made from bone and cartilage, is the thin wall that divides the nostrils. A deviated septum is when the septum is bent to one side. You can be born with a deviated septum, but it is more common to acquire one via a broken nose from contact sports, falls or walking into a tree! A deviated septum may be the cause of mouth breathing, if this is confirmed via an E.N.T. (Ear, nose and throat) specialist, they may suggest surgery.