The way we breathe gives signs of our health. We usually breathe through our nose. According to an article published in the official journal SLAAI (Latin American Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Association), the prevalence of oral respiration in children between 8 and 10 years of age reaches 64%.
Very young children may already have mouth-breathing and respiratory diseases, and the problem should be treated in the first months of life. Improper breastfeeding or bottle-feeding may be the cause.
Oral breathing usually means that it obstructs a point in the airway (nose or pharynx). This disorder can be caused by a number of factors, such as allergic rhinitis, deviated septum, enlarged nasal corbines (structures found on the front of the nose), and adenoids (“spongy flesh” on the back of the nose). ), enlarged tonsils, causing shortness of breath and noise – in this case, the treatment is surgical.
It is the otolaryngologist who will determine the cause of the oral respiration. Specific tests will diagnose whether the nose is covered or whether the obstruction occurs in the throat.
Causes of shortness of breath
Among chronic rhinitis, the most common cause of nasal obstruction is allergic rhinitis. In addition to blocking the nose, patients often complain of sneezing attacks, itchy nose or eyes, and runny nose.
Deviation of the nasal septum, the structure that divides the nose into a right and left nasal cavity, can be of traumatic origin (bump, bump) or because it grows incorrectly. Mild deviations are common, but severe deviations or severe deviations in narrow areas of the nose can cause nasal obstruction and inhalation, and require surgical treatment: septoplasty.
In the throat, the most common obstacle to the passage of air, especially in children, is the uncontrollable enlargement of the palatine tonsils, which sometimes touch each other in the middle of the throat. These patients, in addition to breathing through their mouths, usually snore when they sleep and may also have apnea: they stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds while sleeping. The treatment is surgical.
However, on several occasions, an otolaryngological examination does not show any obstruction in the passage of air and if the patient is voluntarily asked to breathe through his nose, he will do so, but as soon as he is distracted, he will breathe again. mouth.
This is usually the case with mouth breathing. For example, he operated on a patient with a defective septum that impaired breathing and was released, but he became accustomed to breathing through his mouth; treatment in this case is speech therapy, individual follow-up for patients with speech or hearing problems.
Mouth breathing can cause symptoms such as lack of nasal airflow, sneezing, runny nose, but also snoring and possible sleep apnea syndrome. Patients may experience exacerbated respiratory infections, such as ear infections, sinusitis, and tonsillitis.
It can also cause air ingestion, called aerophagia. Stomach air causes gas to give the stomach a feeling of fullness, with frequent belching and flatulence.
In addition, the patient may experience changes in posture, normal breathing function, changes in tooth development, and changes in behavior, such as difficulty concentrating with declining school performance, restless sleep, and irritability.
In general, these changes in the medium and long term have an impact on the quality of life of the individual.
The treatment is multidisciplinary, including an otolaryngologist, a speech therapist, a physiotherapist and a dentist specializing in functional orthopedics.
In dental care, the extension of the jaw is indicated, restoring the functional space of the mouth and adjusting the position of the muscles inside and outside the mouth, correcting the location of the teeth and the tone of the facial muscles, including favoring closing the lips.
Be careful even if you breathe through your nose
Even those who breathe through their noses and mouths during the day can breathe through their mouths at night. The nose is blocked only at night, causing inhalation. See:
- If there is a droa on the pillow;
- When the mouth and lips wake up dry;
- Torn throat;
- bad breath;
- Bad morning.
These symptoms do not necessarily occur at the same time.
Benefits of breathing in the nose
Breathing through the nose prevents diseases and mouth malformations from infancy, reduces anxiety, and filters out impurities and microorganisms from the nose. Breathing through the nose helps the body’s organs function perfectly and helps manage stress. It renews and increases the body’s energy, improves concentration and ensures a good night’s sleep.
In childhood, nasal breathing prevents changes in the baby’s face. Inhalation of the mouth can cause the teeth to sag and cause gingivitis. It can also lead to so-called mouth-breathing syndrome, which is responsible for sleep problems, anxiety and even poor school performance, as well as providing a greater chance of developing respiratory infections.
As it passes through the nose, oxygen is heated and moistened under the perfect conditions for hematosis to the lungs (exchange of oxygen in the blood in exchange for carbon dioxide).
Sources: Claudia SchweigerPresident of ABOPe (Brazilian Academy of Pediatric Otolaryngology); Jair Carneiro LeãoProfessor of Dentistry at the UFPE (Federal University of Pernambuco); Mauro Macedospecialist in orthodontics and maxillary orthopedics and professor at São Leopoldo Mandic College (SP).