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Journal of the Union of Scientists - Varna. Medicine and Ecology Series

Orofacial myofunctional characteristics in mouth-breathing children

Zornitsa Valcheva, Hristina Arnautska, Melin Rushid


Introduction: Normal breathing plays a significant role in the development of the maxillofacial region. People are born with an innate ability to breathe through the nose, but there are cases where they can become mouth-breathers.

Aim: The purpose of our study is to establish the relationship between mouth breathing and the development of the orofacial system in children with mixed and permanent dentition.

Materials and Methods: A total of 1667 children from Varna between 3 and 12 years of age were examined. The results of the clinical examination of each child were assessed according to 19 indicators, outlined in the statistical table. All children were examined by the same dentist, while children presenting with mouth breathing were diagnosed and examined by an otolaryngologist. For the analysis of the occlusion, Tscan was used.

Results: Breathing through the mouth leads to increased depth of the palate in 58% of the children and to hypotonia of the orbicularis oris muscle in 68% of them (р < 0.001). In 69% of the mouth-breathing children, an increase in the facial height was found. A statistically significant difference regarding the type and frequency of malocclusions between mouth-breathing and nose-breathing children was established (р < 0.001).

Discussion: Breathing through the nose ensures proper growth of the morphological and functional structures of the orofacial complex. Breathing through the mouth during the period of intensive muscular and skeletal growth of the craniofacial region impedes normal growth processes and leads to pathological changes.

Conclusions: Children who breathe through the mouth present with the following characteristic orofacial myofunctional symptoms: muscular hypotonia, which includes the orbicularis muscle and the masticatory muscles, narrow maxillary arch, underdeveloped lower jaw, open bite in the anterior segment, and occlusal imbalance.


mouth breathing, orofacial myofunctional characteristics

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