Mouth breathing can have dire consequences when it is left untreated in children. Some of the problems that are encountered in untreated cases are abnormal facial and dental development. Some of the abnormal development issues may include gummy smiles, crooked teeth, long and narrow faces. One of the main causes of mouth breathing is severe allergies that cause upper airway blockage predisposing the person to mouth breathe. In addition, this can cause oxygen concentrations to be very low which will predispose to high blood pressure, heart problems and sleep apnea.
Mouth breathing is extremely dangerous because the upper and lower jaws will not grow together and they develop independent of each other. Normally your tongue is pressed against the palate and it helps with development of the jaw by expanding the upper arch. However, in mouth breathing this process no longer occurs and now the jaw arches get severely constricted and teeth get crowded . Eventually develop a forward head posture in order to breathe better. This means the head will sit too far forward of the body. Forward head posture will force the shoulders to roll forward which will cause neck and back problems.
This abnormal tongue position will cause swallowing and speech problems. If left untreated it will be the source of jaw and TMJ problems. Dentists should check for swollen tonsils or adenoids and refer patients to an ear-nose and throat specialist if these abnormalities are discovered. As dentists we can widen the palate with expansion appliances this will open and widen the sinuses and open nasal airways. With proper intervention should see an improvement in energy level, growth and health improvements. It is extremely important to find out early in development of a child if they are suffering from allergies because mouth breathing is a matter of health.