My Airways and My Teeth

We're designed to use our mouths to eat and speak, and our noses to breath. Additionally to that, the nose serves as a natural humidifier and filter for the air we breath in. Sometimes due to allergies or flu our nasal passage gets blocked and we tend to obtain oxygen through our mouth. Upper Airway Restriction may be caused by:

  • Allergies (resulting in swelling inside the nose; untreated may develop nasal polyps)
  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids (these are the tissues in the back of your nose and throat)
  • Deviated Septum (crooked passage inside the nose)
  • Respiratory infections (cold, flu, etc.)
If mouth breathing becomes persistent it can cause an array of health problems especially in children. Symptoms of habitual mouth breathing:
  • low oxygen levels
  • headaches
  • dry mouth (resulting in dental caries due to lack of saliva)
  • frequent soar throats
  • bad breath
  • poor sleep (resulting in irritability and forgetfulness)
  • chronic fatigue (inability to concentrate, hyperactivity in kids or ADHD)
  • ear pressure and fullness/ stuffiness (often earaches or ringing in the ears)
  • neck pain
  • dizziness
  • jaw joint problems - TMD (clicking, locking or pain of the jaw joint, limited opening of the mouth)
When the nasal breathing is disrupted and mouth breathing dominates, there is a significant impact on child's dental health that effects the overall face growth pattern. Mouth breathing can also cause changes in the long-term development of the size and shape of the jaws and lower face. There are certain visual characteristics that can lead us to think that someone has airway problems. Indications of airway obstruction:
  • long, narrow face
  • lower jaw significantly smaller and pulled down and back
  • lips never close (short upper lip and pouting lower lip)
  • turned up nose poorly developed (small nostrils), often has a bump, narrowed or flattened
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • slouched body posture (head forward in front of the shoulders and tilted back to maintain an open airway)
  • crowded teeth, narrow arches, deep overbites
  • snoring (Sleep Breathing Disorder or Sleep Apnea)
  • sounding congested
  • speech impediment

The tongue is a large muscle which does much of the work to keep the airway passage open, along with the soft palate which rests on it. It is hard to believe our breathing and the airway passage we use can cause many problems in both children and adults.

If you have any questions or think you or a family member may have a airway problem call for a consultation and Dr. Spinner can help.



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