The Home Audit
To establish nasal breathing the child needs to be able to breathe clean air with a minimum of airborne particles.
I ask the child and parents to review the child’s home environment.
I try and discourage fitted carpets in the child’s bedroom. Fitted carpets trap particles that are released into the air when the carpet is walked on.
I encourage the parents to leave the bedroom window open at night to provide fresh air for the child during sleep.
I discourage pets in the house. This is often not possible to achieve but at least discourage pets in the child’s bedroom.
Finally it is easier to establish nasal breathing when the child lives in a smoke free environment.
Electric air humidifiers can help to settle airborne particles in the child’s bedroom at night.
All children who are chronic mouth-breathers will develop a malocclusion.
It is possible to help many children establish nasal breathing. For many children mouth breathing is a habit that can be broken.
Often before establishing nasal breathing we need to expand the upper arch to make room for the tongue to rest and function there. After expansion, unless the tongue learns to rest and function in the palate the arch form will relapse.
Often we need to reduce hyperventilation before the child can establish nasal breathing. The Breathing Well Programme requires commitment by both the parent and child for it to be successful.
To establish nasal breathing in growing children requires very few technical skills on the part of the practitioner. The dentists and orthodontists who are most successful at helping children change any pattern are those practitioners who relate well and communicate well with children.