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  • Writer's pictureCAFF Team


Updated: May 12, 2022

Did you know that something as simple as transitioning your child from mouth breathing to breathing through their nose could end up improving the quality of their long-term health? It's true!

mouth breathing in children

Breathing through the mouth all the time, including when sleeping, can lead to problems. In children, mouth breathing can cause crooked teeth, facial deformities, or poor growth.

Over time, children whose mouth breathing goes untreated may suffer from abnormal facial and dental development, such as long, narrow faces and mouths, gummy smiles, gingivitis, and crooked teeth. Many children who are mouth breathers also experience sleep, cognitive, and behavioral issues.

The poor sleeping habits that result from mouth breathing can adversely affect growth and academic performance.


Mouth breathing, especially at a young age, can dramatically change the development and structure of a child's face. Some of the physical signs include an inability to seal lips, dark circles under the eyes, a long face, an open bite, a high or narrowing palate, or a dramatic change in posture.

In addition to their facial development, mouth breathing can pose negative threats to a child's long-term health. These changes can have long-term effects on their health by:

  • Decreasing quality of sleep

  • Causing poorly functioning auto-immune system

  • Decreasing brain function and IQ

  • Impacting speech and swelling capabilities

  • Increasing risk for dental complications


Without a doubt, breathing through your nose instead of your mouth has major benefits. Your nose is designed to process air differently than your mouth. The process is your body's way of keeping you safe and healthy by:

  • Helping to regulate the temperature of the air so that it is at the optimal level when it hits your lungs

  • Filtering out toxins and debris via the cilia, tiny hair-like structures in your nostrils, when the air passes through

  • Humidifying the air as it passes through in order to prevent dry mouth or a sore throat

  • Producing nitric oxide, which improves your lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen


Children who are mouth breathers often breathe faster and in a more audible fashion. Aside from witnessing your child's mouth breathing, there are other signs you can look for that might suggest your child is mouth breathing.

Many children who are mouth breathers during the day, may also have the following symptoms:

  • Abnormal irritability

  • Increased crying or bedwetting episodes at night

  • Waking with a dry mouth or sore throat

  • Trouble waking up

  • Problems concentrating at school; brain fog

  • Daytime sleepiness

  • Being diagnosed with ADHD

  • Chronic anxiety and allergies

Children who exhibit problems concentrating at school are often misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or hyperactivity.


Most of the time, children are unaware that they are breathing through their mouths when they are awake. Training your child to breathe through their nose at a young age can have life-long health benefits for them. A kind nudge and reminder to close their mouths and breathe through their nose will help to teach them how to self-monitor and self-correct.

Sometimes treating mouth breathing is a matter of treating an underlying illness that impairs nasal breathing. Treatment for mouth breathing is available and can be beneficial for children if the condition is caught early. Contact your pediatric airway dentist for evaluation and treatment options.


There is a silent epidemic weaving its way throughout the children of the world. Sleep issues, an inability to focus or concentrate, lack of energy, and even depression are all symptoms that can be traced back to childhood airway disorders. If caught and treated early enough, the pain and suffering a child experiences can be avoided. Without identification and treatment, a child suffering from an airway disorder will experience pain, exhaustion, mental issues, and even death.

The Children's Airway First Foundation (CAFF) is on a mission to ensure that both parents and pediatric medical professionals become educated on the causes of childhood airway disorders, the signs and symptoms to look for, and what treatment options are available.

Your donation allows us to continue our mission of education and prevention of pediatric airway disorders.

We are a 501(c)(3) charity supported by donations, sponsorships, and volunteer effort. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law; IRS EIN 86-2254672.

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