For Parents & Teachers

Many are unaware of the different levels of breathing and sleeping quality. Not all breathing is good breathing, not all sleeping is good sleeping. For example, a child's long-term mouth breathing through their formative years negatively impacts facial structure, airway, and can lead to chronic congestion. This in turn reduces sleep quality and impacts long-term health. Efforts must be made to ensure congestion is cleared and breathing happens through the nose. Click here for the academic research.

Mouth breathing can start innocently by a cold and become a habit. When mouth breathing, the nasal passages can remain congested long after the cold is gone and be complicated by:

  • dust

  • allergies

  • dairy

 

Inflammation and chronic congestion decrease sleep quality, some of the signs of which are:

  • restless and fragmented sleep

  • tossing and turning

  • bed wetting

  • excessive sweating

  • night terrors and nightmares

  • snoring

 

This 'Airway' (the path air takes from mouth/nose to lungs) is defined as obstructed. Behind the scenes, mouth breathing dries the mouth and throat, potentially enlarging the adenoids and/or tonsils, many times leading to a facial development less suited to nasal breathing. Congestion and mouth breathing during sleep can signal the brain to release cortisol as the body responds to a decrease in oxygen flow. Poor sleep means a child's development suffers.

 

Some daytime effects of poor sleep are:

  • sleepiness

  • lack of focus

  • hyperactivity

which may lead to an ADD/ADHD misdiagnosis.

Clearing congestion with a nasal rinse combined with a Breathe Right strip can improve breathing and sleep which leads to healthier life. For best results, see this Vogue article about how some use a tiny bit of Micropore tape to 'remind' their mouths to stay closed while sleeping.

We are working with many cutting-edge medical practitioners to spread the message of treating the cause and offering your child's future adult self the opportunity to avoid conditions such as sleep apnea, snoring, and cardio-vascular disease. 

 

Super Breathing

Charting the path to your child's Healthier Life begins with understanding their current breathing habits.

Interestingly, these habits are primarily indicated in behavioral characteristics. Some common breathing disorder behaviors include:

  • mouth breathing

  • anxiety

  • lack of focus

  • frequent napping

  • asthma-like symptoms

  • loud and/or heavy breathing

  • breathing with the chest

  • dry mouth/throat

  • prone to cavities (absent from excess sugar)

  • thumb sucking

Common physical breathing disorder characteristics:

  • mouth breathing

  • chronic congestion

  • a noticeably recessed chin

  • eczema

  • speech impediment

  • dark circles under the eyes

  • buck teeth

  • crowded permanent teeth

  • lack of visible spaces around primary teeth

  • cross bite

  • being overweight

  • tongue tie

  • frequent ear infections

If these physical and behavioral characteristics are evident to you in your child, there are oral appliances a child can wear throughout the night to stop mouth breathing and encourage nose breathing. Myofunctional therapy and breathing retraining courses such as those taught by a Buteyko breathing coach can help improve breathing. 

Super Breathing with copyright.JPG

The Very Stuffy Nose, Kelley Richardson

 

Restorative Sleep

The different ways to Breathe are related to the different levels of Sleep Quality. Modern life has altered our breathing habits, now widely labeled, 'Disordered Breathing'. Pre-industrial breathing was better than today. Lifestyle and diet affect our Airway - presently having a negative impact on us as seen in congestion and inflammation, wreaking havoc on our sleep and brain, which in turn limits our development and behavior, followed by opportunities and life quality. How we Breathe determines how we Sleep. How we Sleep determines how we Live.​

Our goal at Super Breathers is to provide awareness and education to parents and health care providers regarding the differences between mouth and nose breathing in children, how breathing is related to sleep, how sleep impacts health and development and direct you to the resources for diagnosis and treatment.

The Very Stuffy Nose, Kelley Richardson

​Here's a brief history:

​Our pre-industrial revolution diet largely consisted of unprocessed foods, chewy things like nuts and dried meats. At about 6 months of age when we begin to chew, these foods strengthened our jaws, making a wide and spacious dental arch with enough space for all 32 teeth, limiting the need for orthodontics. Today's soft food does not make the same demand on our jaw resulting in a narrow dental arch with a high palate. The higher the palate, the harder it is for the tongue to suction and remain on the roof of the mouth resulting in a low tongue posture. The roof of the mouth is the floor of the nose. When the palate is pushed into the nasal cavity it can become harder to breathe through the nose and can result in a deviated septum. Children with a low tongue posture and constricted nasal cavity tend to compensate by breathing through their mouth. Tongue-ties and/or allergies can also lead to mouth breathing.

Continual mouth breathing tends to inflame tonsils and adenoids. Far too often this leads to:

  • sleep disordered breathing (SDB)

  • sleep apnea

  • snoring

  • sweating, and more

 

Untreated, this child becomes an adult with:

  • hypertension

  • cardio-vascular disease

  • dependent upon a CPAP for restful sleep

​A child's unique physical and behavioral breathing characteristics quickly reveal the best protocols to address their fragmented sleep, or SDB (Sleep-Disordered Breathing). Fortunately, with the correct changes, breathing and sleeping quality improve simultaneously and dramatically.

 

Some common SDB behaviors are:

  • excessive energy before bedtime

  • heavy nighttime sweating

  • bed wetting, snoring

  • restless sleep

  • calling out many times a night

  • nightmares and night terrors 

 

The effects of poor-quality sleep throughout the day are congestion, inflammation, and restlessness.

Restorative Sleep can be measured in 4 different sleep stages. Please see the "There's a lot going on during sleep" slide in Sharon Moore's book, "Sleep Wrecked Kids" for more information. Things you can do before going to bed, to ensure a good night's sleep is called Sleep Hygiene. Examples of sleep hygiene include:

  • rinsing your sinuses with a saline rinse

  • wearing a Breathe Right strip

  • limiting exposure to blue light

  • ensuring your room is completely dark and cool

  • wearing an oral appliance for nasal breathing retraining, proper tongue posture and lip seal

 

Buteyko breathing techniques are an integral part of the mouth to nose breathing transition.

​Our vision is a future where early screening and intervention is as normal as a dental checkup.

Healthier Life

Driving awareness around the importance of mouth vs nose breathing, is a growing acceptance of individual responsibility regarding lifestyle choice and the resulting consequences. With some basic understanding of the fundamentals of healthy breathing and sleeping, you can take action to reduce your risk of apnea, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and dementia.

 

The key to a Healthier Life is eliminating the root causes of inflammation, congestion and mouth breathing while making the necessary changes to optimize restorative sleeping.

 

Next Steps

Wondering how to get started? Please Contact Us, or set up a Consultation.

Set up a dental appointment with a dentist knowledgeable in screening for airway and sleeping disorders. Many offices have relationships with Myofunctional therapists. Alternatively, find a local Myofunctional therapist and ask for a referral to a dentist.

There are many books that go far deeper into each subject described on this page. Click Recommended Reading for some of the best.

We've experimented a lot to improve breathing and optimize sleep. Here are some Recommended Products that have worked for us.