Your cute sleeping infant is adorable to watch, but keep an eye on them if their mouth is open. Mouth breathing can signal health problems such as sleep apnea, which you should discuss with your child’s pediatrician.
There are a few distinct causes of mouth breathing in babies, as well as different solutions for each of them. We’ll talk about what’s normal, what isn’t, and how to deal with it. There may be no need to be concerned, but educate yourself so you can determine whether there is. Then you can take the following step to ensure that both you and your baby get a good night’s sleep.
What causes mouth breathing in babies?
While sleeping, babies do not breathe via their mouths. Because of their face architecture at that point of development, if a newborn baby’s nose is obstructed, they are more likely to wake up rather than adapt to mouth breathing.
First, if your baby’s nose is plugged up due to a cold or allergies, they will have little choice but to breathe through their mouth until their nose opens up again. When they can breathe through their nose again, they usually go back to sleeping with their mouth closed, although mouth breathing can become a habit after a cold.
Another factor is sleep apnea, a disorder in which the upper airway is blocked. In addition to snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, and restless sleep, one sign of sleep apnea is mouth breathing during sleep. While adults with sleep apnea are more likely to be fatigued during the day and gain weight, children with sleep apnea are more likely to have behavioral issues and have enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Sleep apnea can also be caused by swollen tonsils or adenoids. Obesity, down syndrome, deformities in the skull or face, cerebral palsy, sickle cell disease, neuromuscular disease, low birth weight, and a family history of obstructive sleep apnea are all risk factors for juvenile obstructive sleep apnea.
SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED IF YOUR CHILD SLEEPS WITH HIS MOUTH OPEN?
A newborn baby’s ability to breathe through their mouth is limited.
This survival reaction takes a long time for a baby to fully develop. If your infant is breathing via their mouth instead of their nose, this could suggest a blockage in their nasal passages and airways. It is possible that leaving it unattended for an extended period of time will harm the baby’s health.
IS IT A CAUSE FOR CONCERN IF YOUR KID SLEEPS WITH HIS OR HER MOUTH OPEN?
The sight of your kid sleeping quietly — or even sleeping at all — can provide a sense of relief to you as a parent. However, while you’re admiring your sleeping angel, you should take the time to carefully check your child’s sleeping habits to ensure that they are healthy. While a small snoring and drooping bottom lip may make for a cute film, they might also be alarming.
Mouth breathing during sleep, whether wide open or slightly cracked, could be a key indicator of your baby’s health. Mouth breathing indicates that your baby is unable to breathe deeply enough to keep his or her mouth shut.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF A BABY’S MOUTH OPENING WHILE SLEEPING
Mouth breathing can be caused by the following circumstances.
Mucus buildup in your baby’s tiny nose can obstruct the nostrils, making breathing difficult. Because the newborn is unable to breathe via their nose, they begin to breathe through their mouth.
- Apnea (sleep deprivation)
Sleep apnea occurs when the upper airways become clogged for a variety of reasons, including inflamed tonsils, enlarged adenoids, or infection. Snoring, restless sleep, uneven breathing, and mouth breathing are all indications of this disorder in babies.
- Septum deviated
The nasal septum is a thin tissue wall that splits the nose into two separate nasal passages. Nasal breathing becomes difficult when the septum is shifted to one side or distorted. It can lead a baby to breathe through his or her lips instead of through their nose. Deviated septum can develop during the fetal period, resulting in some newborns being born with the disorder.
Allergies in babies can result in increased mucus production, which can clog your child’s nasal passages. To assist them breathe through their nose, try using a nasal aspirator to decongest it.
Babies who have had previous respiratory problems may develop the habit of breathing through their mouths.
THE EFFECTS OF A BABY SLEEPING WITH HIS MOUTH OPEN
Some signs and effects of your child sleeping with their mouth open are listed below.
- Lips and tongue that are dry
When you breathe through your mouth, saliva evaporates quickly, leaving your lips and mouth dry. Dry mouth and lips are common in babies who sleep with their mouth open all the time.
- Aggravated asthma
Irritating substances, dust, and pollutants are filtered by the nose. These acts, however, cannot be performed via the tongue. Breathing via the mouth can allow allergens into the lungs, increasing the chance of an asthma attack in babies who already have it.
- Tongue thrusting
Babies who breathe through their mouths frequently may press their tongue against their front teeth. Tongue thrust is the medical term for this problem. Mouth breathing can cause tongue thrust by weakening the tongue and mouth muscles. It can lead to issues including misaligned teeth, poor mouth position, difficulty chewing food, and even speech impairments.
- Changes in the face
The development of the jaw and face muscles may be hampered by mouth breathing. It could cause structural changes in the face, causing it to appear longer or narrower than usual.
- Changes in posture
Mouth breathers frequently tilt their heads to make it easier to breathe. Their pelvis, back, shoulders, and neck are all put under stress as a result of this. It can cause bad posture and interfere with the baby’s proper musculoskeletal development.
- Changes in behavior
According to research, mouth breathing can induce sleep problems, which can lead to symptoms that are similar to those seen in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition, sleep deprivation is common in children with ADHD, which can lead to mouth breathing.
- Sleep deprivation and development
Babies develop as they sleep. If the baby breathes through their mouth while sleeping, they are probably not receiving enough rest. In the long run, a lack of restorative sleep can damage a child’s growth, concentration, conduct, and general development.
How Can You Stop Your Child from Sleeping with His Mouth Open?
Here are some tips to assist your baby break the habit of breathing through his or her mouth.
- Humidify the air
If abundant mucus is causing nasal breathing difficulties, invest in a cool-mist humidifier that will enhance the moisture content in the air. This extra moisture may assist to clear a stuffy nose and improve nasal airflow.
- Give a warm bath
Giving newborns a warm bath not only helps them relax, but it also clears out mucus that has accumulated in their nasal passages.
- Try saline water
If your baby’s mucus is too thick to drain, consider using saline drops to thin it out so it may be sucked out easily. These drops are completely safe to use and can be used on a regular basis.
- Frequent hydration
Frequent hydration: Make sure your infant gets enough milk or formula to stay hydrated. Sufficient liquid consumption keeps the mucus moving and prevents dehydration.
- Filter the air
Filter the air: Allergens in the air could be the cause of your child’s allergies, which could lead to nasal obstruction and mouth breathing. Get an air filter that will help you breathe easier.
- Use a nasal syringe
A nasal syringe can be used to help suck up extra mucus from the baby’s nose. However, because a baby’s nasal passages are fragile, you must use extreme caution when using it.
- Keep your surroundings clean
If you have dogs, you should vacuum the house on a regular basis to remove any pet hair. Keep pet dander and other allergies out of the house.
When to see a doctor
The majority of the above-mentioned therapies may be able to improve nasal breathing, reducing the requirement for mouth breathing. If nothing seems to work, if your baby is gasping for oxygen, or if mouth breathing is interfering with feeding or sleeping, visit a pediatrician right once.
Consult a doctor if you feel your baby is breathing through his or her mouth owing to intrinsic disorders like a deviated septum or sleep apnea. Various tests can be performed by the doctor to discover the underlying reason of the baby’s mouth breathing.
It’s common to see a lovely newborn sleeping with his lips open. Some parents, on the other hand, may be anxious about their children breathing through their mouths. While mouth breathing is acceptable on occasion, if the infant breathes through their mouth all the time, you should get them evaluated by a doctor. It could be a sign of allergies, sleep apnea, or other underlying issues. Furthermore, sleeping with your mouth open might cause tongue pushing, dry lips, and sleep disturbances.
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