Because breathing is an involuntary act, sometimes we do not realize if we are doing it properly. Something similar happens to babies and, unconsciously, the child breathes through the mouth and not through the nose, bringing you a series of pathologies with negative consequences for your health. Do you want to know them?
Respiration is a necessary and essential process for the life of living beings, since oxygen (at the blood level) from the environment is exchanged for carbon dioxide produced by the body, in order to maintain the vital functions of the body. same.
When we breathe we do it involuntarily, we take the air through the nose and there it is cleaned, purified and humidified, so that it enters the respiratory tract in better conditions.
When the child instinctively opens his mouth to breathe, a dysfunction occurs respiratory system, water or chronic because there is a mild, moderate or severe obstruction to breathing through the nose, which can be of nasal or nasopharyngeal origin.
When the obstruction is mild or acute, it is not so important, but when it is severe or chronic, it is worrisome because it can cause oral or facial deformities and, even, systemic and intellectual development pathologies, for which an appropriate treatment must be carried out for avoid complications.
The causes of mouth breathing can be from allergic reactions or flu syndromes (they can cause mild mouth breathing, especially in newborns, even altering their diet) and other reasons that lead to a more chronic and / or severe situation, such as polyps nasal or upper respiratory tract tumors, adenoid or tonsillar hypertrophy, deviation of the septum (nasal septum), allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, and upper or lower respiratory infections.
When these children arrive at my office, the obstruction they present is immediately evident, since they can be observed:
- Mouth breathing, even keeping the mouth open most of the time.
- They have dark circles and eyes with puffy eyelids.
- Dry and chapped lips.
- Nasal voice.
- Facial deformity: elongated face, flattened cheekbones, narrow and sunken palate, calling these deformities 'bird face'.
- Presence many times of hyaline anterior rhinorrhea or thick greenish posterior mucosa.
- Parents report that the child who sleeps with his mouth open has nocturnal apnea, predominantly nocturnal cough, especially when lying down, recurrent otitis and frequent headache.
- In many cases there is a delay and alteration of the dentition.
The child, by holding his mouth open to breathe, may have short or medium term complications that if they are not corrected in time they can bring serious and difficult consequences to correct and among them we have:
- Facial and oral cavity malformations due to the poor development of the bones of the face and skull, due to the lack of good oxygenation. In addition, the constant opening of the mouth makes the tongue go down and out of the cavity, also reducing the lingual stimulus for the development of the bones of the skull. And, usually, crowded and misplaced teeth or lack of growth occurs.
- Swallowing problems, since they have to share the same pathway to swallow and breathe, which makes swallowing with difficulty and it is easier to choke, sometimes they even stop feeding.
- Frequent otitis due to altered pressures and poor ventilation, and that secretions accumulate inside it, producing very frequent infectious otitis and even hearing alterations.
- Alterations of the posture and malformations of the spinedue to poor positioning of the head and shoulders when breathing through the mouth.
- Sleep disorders: with insomnia, respiratory apneas, snoring or night drooling.
- Alterations of taste, smell and language: with a very marked nasal sound.
- Attention, concentration and memory disorders, which leads to poor school performance.
- Marked apathy and chronic tiredness
- Unstable immune system, with a higher incidence of especially infectious pathologies.
We as pediatricians have the obligation to make a diagnosis on time and channel it to be evaluated by an otolaryngologist, who will indicate an adequate treatment and surgical correction, if necessary, to avoid the complications of this pathology.
Although in reality the most important as always is prevention: guide Parents to identify the symptoms of a nasal respirator, consult with the pediatrician in time, do not self-medicate and perform respiratory physiotherapy and correct and frequent nasal washes to maintain a clean airway and permeable, which prevents the child from becoming a mouth breather.
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