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Mouth Breathing and Dentistry

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Humans are created to breathe primarily through their noses. However, as a backup, we can breathe through our mouths, which we sometimes do when our noses are stuffy or we are exercising. However, chronic mouth breathing can lead to dentistry problems down the road, especially in children.

Federal Hill Smiles is a local Baltimore dentist that offers a wide variety of dental services, including general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and kids' dental services. Our experienced and compassionate staff helps to ensure your comfort while you're at the dental office and offer superior oral care. Below, we'll take a look at the dangers mouth breathing can cause, especially in children. Call for a dental appointment today!


Chronic mouth breathing at night can be a sign of a sleep disorder. This can include snoring, loud breathing, open-mouth breathing, and sleep apnea. It could also indicate a problem with the nasal passageway, which can cause developmental issues down the road.

Mouth breathing also causes dry mouth. Part of the job of saliva is to begin the digestion process. Saliva also helps to keep the teeth and gums healthy because it contains substances that neutralizes the bad bacteria that can cause plaque. Saliva also contains other substances, such as phosphorus fluoride, that help to strengthen the enamel on the teeth. Without saliva, cavities can form more readily.

Mouth breathing can cause an uneven growth of your child's jaws. Their upper jaw may grow more than their lower jaw. This causes an overbite, which then leads to teeth problems down the road. Plus, mouth breathing can cause facial structure changes as well, such as a longer face, droopy eyes, narrower mouth palate, flatter facial features overall, and narrower cheek bones.

A gummy smile is not a technical dental term. Instead, it's used to describe a condition where the gum tissues grow too much over teeth, which can be quite noticeable when someone smiles. This, too, can lead to an increase in the bad bacteria that causes cavities and other dental problems.


Your child probably won't know that they are mouth breathing, nor would they think anything is wrong with it. Thus, there are signs to be aware of that could indicate chronic mouth breathing:

  • Tired during the day
  • Snoring
  • Crying at night
  • Dry lips in the morning
  • Irritable and/or mood swings
  • Crowded teeth
  • Complaints of jaw pain
  • Lack of focus at school
  • Frequent headaches
  • Grinding of teeth


As you can see, mouth breathing is most definitely a concern. If you suspect your child may be breathing through their mouth at night, it's time to see your local Baltimore dentist. This will consist of a consultation, as well as dental x-rays and other imaging of your child's smile. We will look for any signs of teeth grinding or cavity formation and work quickly to set a solution in place. We can apply fluoride to your child's teeth to help strengthen them, or we can apply a sealant on the molars to help keep cavities from forming.

If we suspect an airway obstruction, we can offer dental treatment options as well, such as creating a custom appliance for your child to wear at night. This will ensure your child's airways are open and helps to ensure the proper formation of your child's mouth as they age.

Treatments will vary if your child is suffering from open mouth breathing. This is because each child's particular symptoms are different and what the result of those include. However, the sooner we can implement a treatment for open mouth breathing, the sooner you and your child can rest easy.


Besides the impact to oral health that incorrect breathing can cause, a child's quality of life can be impacted. No one likes waking up and feeling like they've hardly slept. Sleep is crucial to all of us, but especially children who are still growing. Getting a good night's sleep makes the day so much better, from having a good day at school to being happier overall. If you suspect you or your child has an incorrect breathing pattern, schedule a dental appointment today.


Federal Hill Smiles has been serving families since 1985, offering the best in oral health care. Oral health care affects so many aspects of your life, so it's super important to invest in regular dental care. We offer help with insurance and billing, as well as financing options, to help ensure you get the dental care you need. From cosmetic to general dentistry and orthodontics, we offer a wide variety of services, including crowns and bridgework, root canals, tooth extractions, oral surgery, TMD treatments, dentures, and so much more. In addition, we help with underlying issues, such as mouth breathing, in order to correct issues before they progress.

If you are looking for the best Baltimore dentist, call our team today. We offer the best pediatric dental services, including dental guards for sports and orthodontics, to set your child on the path to great oral health. We offer friendly service in a comfortable setting. Plus, we keep a prompt schedule, so you are not spending any more time than necessary at the dentist's office. Give us a call to schedule today!

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