Dental Problems

Diagnosis for Mouth Breathing Habit

Dental Crowding - OverviewNormal breathing through mouth helps in normal dentofaical growth. Increased flow of air through nose might be the primary cause of the mouth breathing. Mouth breathing may cause various effects on the shape and size of the mouth, etc. Thus, patients with mouth breathing need to be diagnosed and treated to correct the problem. In this article, there is a brief discussion on the diagnosis of mouth breathing habit. Let us examine them.

Diagnosis for mouth breathing habit

The following are the steps for the mouth breathing habit diagnosis.

  • History:

    Parents need to be questioned whether a kid frequently adopts a lip apart posture. Occurrence of allergic rhinitis and tonsillitis frequently, otitis media must be queried.

  • Examination:

    • Study the unobserved breathing habits of the patient.
    • Nasal breathing individuals have their lips lightly touched during the relaxed breathing hours, whereas mouth breathers keep the lips apart.
    • During the examination process, check if the patient is taking the breath through mouth or nose. Ask him/her to take a deep breath.
    • Most individuals respond by breathing through the mouth (oral), although occasionally some individuals with nasal breathing breathe through nose while keeping the lips closed tightly.
    • A normal nose breathing individual will usually dilate nostrils while taking a deep breath.
    • A mouth breathing individual when asked to close the lips and take a deep breath will appreciably not change the shape and size of the external nares and may occasionally contract nasal orifices while taking a deep breath.
    • This is because the nasal breathers may normally demonstrate a good reflex control of alar muscles that control the external nares shape and size.
    • Even the nasal breathers with the temporary nasal congestion may demonstrate the dilation of the nares and reflex alar contraction during voluntary inspiration.
  • Clinical tests:

    There are various clinical tests to examine the mouth breathing habits which are as follows:

    1. Mirror test
    2. Butterfly test
    3. Water holding test
    4. Inductive plethysmography (Rhinomanometry):

      Inductive plethysmography is one of the instruments which can be used to quantify the mouth breathing extent as to establish on how much of airflow totally goes through the mouth and nose. This is the only reliable way and it allows the percentage of oral or nasal respiration that need to be calculated. Some minority of long face kids had less than 40 percent of nasal breathing.

    5. Cephalometrics:

      By taking various angles of cephalometrics one can establish the size of adenoids, the amount of space of nasopharyngeal and also to find the skeletal patterns of patients.

The above article discusses about the various ways of diagnosis for mouth breathing habits. It is important to distinguish in which category does the kid with mouth breathing habit belong to -anatomic, obstructive or habitual. It is also important to distinguish the habitual mouth breather from a kid who breathes through nose yet, because of their short upper lip which keeps the lips apart.

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