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ORTHODONTIC : Guidelines proposal for clinical recognition of mouth breathing children


Due to its range of comorbidities, mouth breathing (MB) has been a concern for healthcare professionals in various areas.

The most common cause of MB is the presence of obstacles in the nasopharyngeal region,which increases nasal resistance that can be induced by various mechanical factors, including tonsil hyperplasia, hypertrophied turbinates, rhinitis, tumors, infectious or inflammatory diseases, and changes in nasal architecture.

However, even after these mechanical factors are removed, MB continues in most cases due to patient’s mouth breathing habit.

Unbalanced facial musculature occurs as a result of MB, which causes changes in tooth positioning, lips, tongue, palate, and jaws, so as to counterbalance the new breathing pattern.

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MB is one of the most commonly cited characteristics of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) during childhood, but symptoms are often inadequately recognized.

SDB encompasses a wide clinical spectrum, such as snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).11,12 Snoring during sleep is estimated to occur among 8% and 27% of children, 2% of which present with OSA.

Prevalence of UARS remains unknown and is most likely to be underdiagnosed. Findings for clinical diagnosis of UARS are considered nonspecific, but strongly resemble clinical aspects of chronic mouth breathing and nasal obstruction.

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Dental Press J Orthod
Maria Christina Thomé Pacheco / Camila Ferreira Casagrande / Lícia Pacheco Teixeira / Nathalia Silveira Finck / Maria Teresa Martins de Araújo