HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessThe danger of sleeping with mouth open in childhood - study reveals

The danger of sleeping with mouth open in childhood – study reveals

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Experts warn that sleeping with your mouth open as a child can have long-term consequences and cause damage throughout adulthood. The practice can be caused by allergies, rhinitis, or something more serious, such as nasal obstruction, and can cause everything from bad breath to cognitive issues.

One of the studies capable of explaining the danger caused by sleeping with your mouth open was undertaken by the Federal University of Sergipe in Brazil.

Children who breathe via their mouths have more learning issues, according to the study. It turns out that the nose may filter air during respiration, thus the air that enters the mouth is contaminated.

Because of this, according to the Brazilian Association of Otorhinolaryngology and Cervico-Facial Surgery (ABORL-CCF), mouth breathing increases the risk of viral or bacterial infections and colds. The agency also adds that the public subject to this practice has the potential to develop physical consequences such as:

  • Changes in physiognomy without proper development
  • Changes in the dental arch (jaw closed and projected forward)
  • Clear throat and mucus stuck in the throat
  • Retracted neck and curved chest

However, the impacts of sleeping with your mouth open are not just physical, and can also influence behavior:

  • decrease in focus
  • Irritability
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

These more behavioral issues are directly related to a disorder called obstructive sleep apnea, characterized by repetitive noises and interruptions in breathing. These interruptions prevent the person from reaching the deepest stages of sleep, which has consequences for the brain still in formation.

Sleep apnea

According to an article published in the European Respiratory Journal, sleep apnea can even accelerate aging, but proper treatment can reverse this situation. For milder cases of sleep apnea, a doctor may only recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, but if the condition is moderate or severe, certain devices can help clear the airway.

Fortunately, technology has been looking for a way to help diagnose sleep apnea more easily, such as an algorithm that detects the disorder based on recordings of patients breathing during sleep.

If you get any of these problems from sleeping with your mouth open, your child may need surgery called adenoid, tonsil, or lower turbinate enlargement. The sooner the surgery is done, the better. Follow-up with a speech therapist may also be necessary.

Image Credit: Getty

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