Some people are mouth breathers and it has to do a little with genetics and a lot to do with environment. Mouth breathing is not a good thing. It can cause many problems because that is not how the body is intended to work. Children who are mouth breathers may have other problems that need to be addressed. If your child is a mouth breather then read these few facts on babies that consistently have their mouth open.
Newborns are not mouth breathers. The natural instinct at this age tells a baby to breathe through the nose. However, the mucous from the womb that is in their nose can make them breath through their mouth for a limited time. Along with that, adjusting to the harsher air may cause some swelling inside their nose. This will make them breathe through their mouth as well. However, this should wear off as they get into a month or two months old.
Struggling to breathe while nursing or feeding is somewhat common at first but should wear off. Be sure to keep a cool air humidifier running in your babies room when they are in the newborn stage. Another thing to do to help your infant with breathing that first few weeks is to have your doctor adequately suck out their nose and lungs. Contractions during labor help squeeze your baby and push gunk out of their nose and lungs. So if your labor is super fast, they may not get adequate squeezing to eliminate gunk. So a doctor can use a tube down their nose to get the gunk out of their lungs and stomach. The benefit to this is that their body doesn’t have to process it. So they are less likely to have high bilirubin.
As babies get older into infants the mouth breathing should go away. Infants breathe through their nose because that is what is required for good feeding. However, at this stage you may see more open mouth exploring. As a child grows and explores their world they may put things in their mouth. The mouth is filled with tons of sensors that transmit information to the brain. So naturally, infants like to explore by putting things in their mouth. So at this point their mouth might be open a lot for learning purposes. Be aware that infants are more likely to put small objects in their mouth. For their safety keep small objects away from them.
Toddlers also explore with their mouths. But at this stage in development you may see a lot of open mouth thinking. It is common when a toddler is using all of their brain power to try a new task, their mouth may gape open. They may even stick their tongue out. It is always a good idea to remind them not to stick their tongue out if they are thinking deeply. Because if they fall and have a blow to the jaw they may bite their tongue. To read more on this go to https://www.daycare.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70917
There are plenty of other reasons you may catch your baby with their mouth open. One major time that you will see more open mouthing in your baby is during teething. Teething is an uncomfortable process that all babies have to go through. It can cause some swelling and inflammation in the nose and mouth area. Because of this, when teeth are coming in your child may have their mouth open. Along with that, you will see a lot more drooling. They will also be putting toys and their hands in their mouth because biting causes counter pressure that helps relieve pain.
Another factor that could cause your child to have an open mouth is illness. Just like adults, if your nose is stuffed up and you can’t breath through it, then you will breathe through your mouth. Although it is uncomfortable, it is the bodies way of ensuring that it gets oxygen no matter the status of the nose. If your child has caught a cold or is sick then they will be breathing more through their mouth.
One factor that can cause open mouths in children is developmental delays. If your child is suffering with any type of genetic or inherited disease then one symptom of that may be mouth breathing. This is because the bodies code is not telling it the brain the appropriate way to work. Along with this, any developmental deficiency will affect the entire bodily process. So for example, children with down syndrome may be more prone to mouth breathing because their facial features cause their nose not to work correctly. However, mouth breathing long term can cause problems so it is definitely something to bring up with your pediatrician.
Possible Injuries Can Occur
Sleep Deprivation symptoms that can mimic ADHD symptoms. There are other illnesses that appear like mouth breathing but are something much larger. If your child is not getting adequate sleep then they may present with mouth breathing and other symptoms. However, a simple sleep problem could get mis interpreted as ADD or ADHD. This is because an over tired child will present similarly to an attention deficit problem. So if your child is having behavior issues and mouth breathing, that might be the bodies way to tell mom their is a problem with sleep. This is a very complicated and unusual thing to intervene or see.
At the end of the day, consistent long term mouth breathing is an issue that you should definitely get your pediatrician involved with. Long term mouth breathing can cause many developmental problems and can signify other problems. However, there is a fair amount of learning that children do with their mouth. Along with that, a short term illness or environment may cause mouth breathing. Be smart and use your common sense on when it is a good time to get the pediatrician involved.