Is your child suffering from atopic dermatitis? Does he feel itchy all the time? Have you also started noticing that he sleeps with his mouth open? Are you wondering what his atopic dermatitis has to do with his open mouth? Well, read below and see how the two are related.
What is mouth breathing?
Mouth breathing occurs when you use your mouth alone or the mouth and nose, instead of just the nose to breathe for longer than 6 months. It is okay to rely on the mouth for breathing in some instances; however, relying on it always can cause many health problems.
You can read more about mouth breathing here
Are you a mouth breather?
To check if you are a mouth breather look out for these symptoms: snoring, dry mouth after waking up, bad breath (halitosis), open mouth while chewing, open mouth throughout the day, waking up tired and irritable, daytime sleepiness, and more…
Mouth breathing vs. Nose breathing
We have two air passageways to our lungs—the nose and the mouth. Why is breathing through your nose better than breathing through your mouth?
Well, the nose is a natural filter. It prevents the small particles in the air that irritate the lungs from entering. It also adds moisture to the air to prevent dryness in the lungs—this prevents you from heaving and coughing again and again. Breathing from the mouth does not allow any of this which is why it is bad.
Why is mouth breathing bad?
Mouth breathing has many detrimental effects that can lead to Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders, which may cause problems in functions that require the tongue—chewing, sucking, breathing and swallowing.
The lower placement of the tongue in mouth breathing results in facial deformity— a V-shaped maxilla, a narrow and long face, sunk-in cheeks, small lower jaw, and a weak chin— and crooked teeth.
“In addition, mouth breathing might be associated with skin diseases,given its previously demonstrated relationships with periodontal disease and enlarged tonsils… In addition, Valeraet al. reported that children aged 3–6 years with enlarged tonsils had a significantly increased risk of mouth breathing. Streptococcal tonsillitis is associated with psoriasis……However, no population-based studies have investigated the relationship between mouth breathing and the prevalence of pediatric diseases, including atopic dermatitis,which is a highly prevalent skin disease in children.” (Yamaguchi et al. 2015)
I am sure you have heard about the above-mentioned consequences of mouth breathing, but have you heard about its relation to atopic dermatitis? Yeah, even I was as surprised when I first experienced such a situation. Here is how the two work together.
The relationship between atopic dermatitis and mouth breathing has become popular in recent research. In 2015, a Japanese research was published. It conducted a survey on 600 subjects and found that a strong association between the two exists. Mouth breathing— day and night—was consistently paired with atopic dermatitis, even after controlling for other variables.
If a person cannot breathe through the nose, the body automatically resorts to its only other source—the mouth.
The major causes of nasal congestion include allergies/food sensitivities, asthma and hay fever (inflammation in the nose)—the three main symptoms of atopic Dermatitis.
Atopic Dermatitis is an itchy skin condition that is common among children, but can occur at an older age as well. It is prevalent among those who have ‘atopic tendencies’— those who have a genetic predisposition to asthma and hay fever.
The implication of this research was that if mouth breathing is shown to contribute to atopic dermatitis, then steps should be taken to avoid mouth breathing to prevent atopic dermatitis.
You can read full study article here
How to treat mouth breathing?
To avoid these problems, all you have to do is start breathing through your nose. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. If you are used to breathing through your mouth, you cannot break the habit overnight. You need to retrain the muscles of the mouth – including the tongue.
This is where my service as a practicing myofunctional therapist comes in. As a trained therapist, my aim is to teach my clients the correct facial posture, which includes proper breathing patterns and correct placement of the tongue. The online myofunctional therapy exercises that I use enable my clients to change their open mouth posture to one where both the lips touch each other without straining.
My therapy caters to both adults and children from all over the world.