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The Impact of Mouth Breathing on Facial Development


Nathan Pratt - January 3, 2022 - 0 comments

The quality of the air we breathe, and interestingly enough, how we breathe it, has a significant impact on our health. Not only does air affect the respiratory system, but also the cardiovascular system, mental health, and development. Unbeknownst to most, there are countless connections between the way the face develops and the quality of the air, and the way we breathe. Because of this, mouth breathing and facial development are unexpectedly but hugely linked.

Advantages of Nasal Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing

Why should someone intentionally breathe through their nose as opposed to their mouth?

The answer is the countless advantages nasal breathing has on your health.

 Nasal breathing:

  • Reduces exposure to foreign substances
  • Filters, humidifies, and warms inhaled air
  • Increases airflow to arteries, veins, and nerves
  • Increases oxygen uptake and circulation
  • Slows down breathing 
  • Improves lung volume
  • Helps your diaphragm work properly

Effects Mouth Breathing Has on Facial Growth

Mouth-breathing can result in facial structures that are long, narrow, and with less prominent jaws and a retracted chin. When people take on the habit of mouth breathing as children:

  • The habit is harder to break
  • Their features are the most susceptible to change
  • It has a lot of time to commandeer influence and shape their face

Other Airway Related Problems

In addition to the developmental consequences primarily breathing through the mouth can have on a person’s face, there are also other unforeseen consequences of picking up this habit, especially during childhood.

  • Dental problems
  • Mental disorders
  • Sleep apnea

Treatment Options

Fortunately, if you notice that your child is having trouble breathing through their nose, it’s easy to make an appointment with Dr. Wallace. In milder cases, your child’s facial structures could grow more symmetrically just by making simple changes. However, more severe cases or cases identified during adulthood may require more intensive treatment plans. 

Airway Issues and Facial Development

For issues relating to facial development and the openness of the airway, Dr. Wallace can be an unmatchable resource. If you notice your child’s face is growing asymmetrically, it could indicate airway obstruction. If you would like to learn more about the effects of the airway on facial development or have a child that struggles with sleep apnea, contact Dr. Wallace’s office at (843) 410-0345 or fill out our contact form here.