Importance of an Open Airway
One of the most common issues in facial growth and development for children is caused by a compromised airway or the inability to easily breathe through the nose. When children have a hard time breathing through their nose they breathe through their mouths. This can create issues in the future and can impact facial development and the way a child will look as an adult. Common cause of altered breathing include:
- Deviated Septum
- Enlarged tonsils
- Enlarged adenoids
Chronic sinus infections
A compromised airway effects the growth of a child in many different ways. The tongue often sits comfortably in the lower jaw to enable a child to breathe through the mouth. This can affect the growth of the lower jaw, making it longer causing an underbite.
Since nasal breathing is disrupted, the midface (nasal and cheekbones) and upper jaw don’t develop at a usual rate because the natural growth stimulant of airflow through the nose is absent. By impeding the growth of the upper jaw and midface and increasing the growth of the lower jaw there is a direct impact on jaw alignment and facial structure. This will have serious impacts on the way a child looks as an adult.
Most people don’t realize it but the signs of airway problems are quite clear. Here are some common symptoms:
- Mouth breathing – signs include inflamed gums and chapped/dry lips
- Pooling beneath the eyes – dark circles can form under the eyes
- Head posture – head postures forward or the forehead tips back
- Adenoid and tonsil issues – Constant issues with sinus’ and throat
- Snoring – Most children don’t snore
- Grinding of teeth during sleep
- Bed wetting
The importance of recognizing and treating airway obstruction
Oxygen and sleep are vital to the brain and body development of a child. Not receiving quality sleep or enough oxygen can lead to a variety of health concerns. Attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) and childhood obesity are among the main concerns. Studies have proven issues with airways for developing children can lead to numerous behavioral problems as well. These issues include restlessness, daytime sleepiness, poor test performance, and aggressive behavior.
Since children rely on adults to take care of them it is important for parents to pay close attention to the signs and symptoms of airway obstructions. Monitoring daytime behaviour and sleeping habits will help inform you of any existing issues. Our office is happy to address these concerns and to work with you and your child toward a healthy and happy future!