Skip to Content
Mouth breathing is often caused by a partially blocked airway, usually because of an allergy or enlarged adenoids or tonsils. A doctor should
evaluate these conditions. Frequent mouth breathing can cause dry, red,
swollen gums. This can be especially noticeable around erupting baby and
In children younger than 8, about half do some breathing through
their mouths, presumably not due to a medical problem. Most children outgrow
this habit by the age of 8.
The relationship between ongoing (chronic) mouth breathing and
malocclusion ("poor bite") is unclear, but the
two are often seen together. The most common trait of people who chronically
breathe through their mouths is an elongated (longer) lower face and a narrowed
upper arch in the mouth (maxillary constriction). Cheek muscles pressing in on
the upper side teeth cause these traits. Experts question
whether mouth breathing is responsible for these skeletal and dental
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerWilliam F. Hohlt, DDS - Orthodontics
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & William F. Hohlt, DDS - Orthodontics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2016 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)