Mouth breathing: Adverse effects on facial growth, health, academics, and behavior: Yosh Jefferson, DMD, MAGD

The importance of facial appearances in contemporary society is undeniable. Many studies have shown that individuals with attractive facial features are more readily accepted than those with unattractive facial features, providing them with significant advantages.

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A note from Yosh Jefferson, DMD, MAGD

The vast majority of health care professionals are unaware of the negative impact of upper airway obstruction (mouth breathing) on normal facial growth and physiologic health. Children whose mouth breathing is untreated may develop long, narrow faces, narrow mouths, high palatal vaults, dental malocclusion, gummy smiles, and many other unattractive facial features, such as skeletal Class II or Class III facial profiles. These children do not sleep well at night due to obstructed airways; this lack of sleep can adversely affect their growth and academic performance. Many of these children are misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and hyperactivity.

It is important for the entire health care community (including general and pediatric dentists) to screen and diagnose for mouth breathing in adults and in children as young as 5 years of age. If mouth breathing is treated early, its negative effect on facial and dental development and the medical and social problems associated with it can be reduced or averted.

What Age Should My Child Have Orthodontic Braces?

Braces are probably one of the most dreaded words for a parent to hear when taking their child for a dental check-up. Orthodontics relate to many issues for young developing children including their self-image. For a parent, the concern for their child to develop a healthy smile is also confounded by the sometimes prohibitive cost of braces. However crooked teeth can indicate developmental problems for a child that influence their breathing, posture and sleep habits.

 While the traditional idea of an orthodontic correction is through bracketing (braces), many orthodontists and dentists are now employing preventative treatments to correct habits that potentially prevent braces altogether.

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An Orthodontic Nightmare

Audrey McCormick’s comprehensive report details their family’s traumatic and tragic experience as a result of Orthodontic mistreatment of their daughter, Krystal, at the hands of a series of Orthodontists and an Oral Surgeon. Nine years later her face is irreparably damaged, and it is unclear whether her current treatment will be able to improve her situation. Audrey is currently taking legal action against the Orthodontists involved – but is still in need of assistance.

The Case Against Jaw Operations for Children

The Telegraph 29th March 2010 by Michael Pilgrim.

John Mew, An 81-year-old dentist in the UK, has waged a 40-year campaign to prevent what he claims is unnecessary surgery to correct overbite on children.


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Your Say
  • paul
    At 15 I had braces for 2 years with the extract and retract method. I now have an inverted top lip I have no side profile I have to over exaggerate to smile, I am now 58 years old and would love to […]
  • Thank You
    I feel very strongly that some dentists and orthodontists are still feeding people with ill informed advice and getting paid for it. If the mouth is overcrowded the advice still seems to be […]