The mouth breathers breathe through mouth instead of nose. They keep their mouth open. It affects the dentofacial structure. The teeth and the gingiva are affected and at the same time patient has the speech problem. There are different causes of mouth breathing. In some cases the cause is obstructive that is they start breathing through mouth because there is some obstruction in the nasal passage like enlarged adenoids, deviated nasal septum. Sometimes even after the removal of obstruction child keeps on breathing through mouth then that habit becomes habitual. The mouth breathing habit if persists affects the dento facial structures.
Effects Of Mouth Breathing
Effect on the facial form
It is seen that the children who breathe through mouth due to the hypertrophied lymphoid tissue show more vertical growth. They have long faces and sometimes it is called as Adenoid faces. Their faces have typical long and narrow appearance with narrow nose and nasal passage.
Effect on the teeth and the arches
Mouth breathers keep the mouth open so the flaring of the upper teeth is seen. We can see the open bite that means the upper front teeth do not cover the lower front teeth. Patient breathes through mouth so the tongue is positioned downwards to make the airways. This causes the imbalance in the forces and the narrow maxillary arch causing the posterior cross bite.
Incidence of caries
In mouth breathers there is the increased incidence of caries as the mouth remains open and there is dryness. The front upper teeth are affected the most.
Effect on the lips
The mouth breathers have the flaccid and short upper lip as the lips are not used to close the mouth they become short and flaccid. It is not that every person having short upper lips is a mouth breather. The lower lip is curled up and appears voluminous. The upper lip being short and incompetent the upper teeth show more. Normally the part of the upper teeth and the gums is covered by the upper lip while smiling but in case of the mouth breathers even the gums are visible during smiling giving the smile which is called as the Gummy Smile.
Effect on gingiva
In mouth breathers the gingiva is inflamed. This condition is called as the Mouth Breathing Gingivitis. Most affected is the gingival tissue of upper front teeth. The gums become inflamed and hyper plastic because the mouth remains open and they are constantly having the affect of air drying. The salivary flow is also decreased causing the heavy deposit as the self cleansing effect of the saliva is reduced. The gingiva has the classic rolled up appearance. There is bone loss and the pocket formation in the inter proximal area if proper oral hygiene is not maintained.
Effect on speech
In mouth breathers’ speech can also be affected if the cause of nasal obstruction is not removed. The mouth breathers have the nasal accent.
The mouth breathers have the expressionless face. The activities of the muscles differ in the mouth breathers and the nose breathers. Mouth breather have the frequent attacks of ear infection i.e. otitis pedia also.