Ottawa-Gatineau Orthodontists Alliance
Adults Children Orthodontics Treatment

Breathing and orthodontics

Dr. Sharleen Tan

Posted by Dr. Sharleen Tan, 2018-04-12

Did you know that the way we breathe has a direct effect on our health? Did you know that breathing a certain way can affect the way a child grows? With 100,000 miles of blood vessels running through our body, it is essential that we receive the proper amount of oxygen for all of our organs to function optimally.

 

Your Nose Leads The Way

Breathing through your nose is considered normal.  It is the ideal way to oxygenate our bodies as there is a gas called nitric oxide that is released.  Nitric oxide allows the oxygen to be taken in by all our blood vessels.

 

When we breathe through the mouth, however, this oxygenation can be severely decreased thereby causing various health issues.

 

Mouth Breathing In Children

A mouth breather, as you might guess, has his or her mouth open. In a growing child, mouth breathing will forever change the growth of the face:  Instead of being in contact with the roof of the mouth, the tongue drops into the floor of the mouth causing the upper jaw to constrict.

 

As the mouth breathing continues, it can lead to sleep deprivation, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, inability to concentrate at work or school and sleep apnea.

 

All of these symptoms caused by mouth breathing can also be mistaken for ADHD.  As many as 50% of children diagnosed with ADHD have a breathing /sleeping problem!

 

Breathing and its impact on the body

Other structural changes can also happen to the body by the way you breathe: poor posture and forward head position to name just a few.  This in turn can cause stress on the muscles of the head and neck as well as shoulder pain.

 

What does this have to do with orthodontics and braces?

A certified orthodontist can detect improper patterns and has the formal education and training to identify poorly developing facial structures.  When an orthodontist sees a constricted palate, he or she can use orthodontic appliances to widen it again, thereby creating enough space for proper tongue posture.  Expanding the palate can also increase airway space, allowing a patient to breathe more easily through their nose and decrease the harmful effects of mouth breathing!

 

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children at the age of 7 have their first consultation with a certified orthodontist. However, if you have any concerns or want to know that a child’s breathing and facial development seems healthy, see an orthodontist!

 

Need to find an Orthodontist for yourself or your child? Check out our handy directory of Orthodontists in Ottawa-Gatineau today.

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