One of the most tranquil images for new parents is a sleeping baby.
You may look at those tiny fingers and toes when your baby is relaxed.
Their drowsy eyes and twitchy nose are there for you to enjoy.
You adore their sweet open mouth and all of their small moans and snores.
But hold on, you might want to pay closer attention to that final feature.
If left untreated, mouth breathing while sleeping may be a symptom of specific upper respiratory conditions.
Find out more about the causes of your baby’s mouth opening as they sleep, what you can do to help, and when to call your pediatrician.
✅ Cute, for sure. However, the way your infant breathes through their mouth as they sleep may also be a vital health indicator.
✅ If your infant is just congested, there are several things you can do to make breathing easier for them.
✅ If the problem persists, it may be worthwhile to discuss it with your child’s pediatrician or a dental health expert.
✅ You and your partner can both sleep considerably more soundly at night once you cure any blockages or other issues.
What it can imply for your child if they sleep with their mouth open
Unless their nasal tube is otherwise blocked, newborn newborns nearly exclusively breathe through their noses. In actuality, young infants don’t actually have the impulse to breathe via their lips until they are about 3 to 4 months old. (Except when they’re sobbing.)
According to researchers, mouth breathing during sleep may start as a reaction to a blockage in the upper airway, such as the nose or throat. This might be the result of something rather innocuous on its own, such as a stuffy nose brought on by a cold or allergies. Or it could result from other, trickier circumstances.
Breathing via the lips might develop into a bad habit over time.
The problem is that mouth breathing is less effective than nose breathing, particularly when it comes to the lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen. Additionally, breathing through the nose prevents bacteria and other irritants from entering the body.
The following are potential reasons for mouth breathing:
If your baby’s nose is congested or mucus-clogged, they may be forced to breathe via their mouth. They can be allergic to something in their environment or have recently had a cold. In any case, because babies find it difficult to quickly discharge mucus on their own, they may make up for it by mouth breathing.
Another indication of sleep apnea is mouth breathing, which simply indicates that your baby’s upper airway is blocked in some way. This is typically brought on by swollen tonsils or adenoids in infants and young children.
Other signs include snoring, uneasiness when sleeping, breathing pauses, coughing, or choking.
An irregularity in the cartilage and bone that divides your baby’s nostrils from one another can occasionally be the cause of mouth breathing. People with a small upper jaw are more likely to experience this, which could cause difficulty breathing through the nose (also associated with mouth breathing).
Additionally, some infants could just develop the habit of breathing through their noses after being unwell or for other reasons.
Treatments for your infant’s open-mouth sleep habits
Consider scheduling a pediatrician appointment if your baby appears to have breathing difficulties or exhibits additional symptoms in addition to mouth breathing. Your kid’s doctor can request additional testing, give medication for any infections, and help rule out any illnesses that might be obstructing the airway in your child.
If not, you could attempt the following remedies at home to relieve congestion:
Humidifier. Air moisture can relieve congested nostrils. To reduce the danger of burns, a cool mist humidifier is best for infants and young children. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can think about having your infant sit with you in the bathroom while a hot shower is running to produce steam.
Syringe for bulbs. It might be challenging for your infant to breathe if there is even a small quantity of mucus in their nose. A simple bulb syringe or one of the more upscale snot suckers, like the NoseFrida, can be used to remove it. Be gentle to avoid breaking your child’s nose. Additionally, sterilize your syringe after each use to stop the growth of dangerous microorganisms.
Wash in saline. Before sucking out the mucus, a few sprays of a saline solution (salt water) may assist thin and releasing the mucus. You might even give a neti pot or saline rinse a try if your child grows a little older. Just be sure to boil the tap water for safety, then let it cool or use distilled water.
Keep hydrated. To prevent dehydration and maintain the flow of mucus, make sure your infant is drinking sufficient breast milk or formula.
When should you take your baby to see a doctor?
No longer stuffy, baby? Bring up mouth breathing during sleep with your pediatrician if you still notice it. The upper airways are blocked by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, which do not respond to home remedies. They might be contaminated in some circumstances. Others can simply have larger ones owing to genetics.
In any instance, your doctor can provide you guidance on any tests such as an overnight sleep study) or subsequent actions you should take.
Drugs like Flonase or Rhinocort may be beneficial for persistent allergies or for milder forms of sleep apnea. In some circumstances, your doctor might advise surgery to remove the tonsils and/or adenoids or to address other disorders, such as a deviated septum, that are causing breathing difficulties.
Positive airway pressure therapy using CPAP and BPAP equipment is one of the treatment options for sleep apnea. These gadgets function by slowly blowing air through a sleep mask that your child wears. The air aids in maintaining the airway’s openness in your infant.
There are also certain mouthpieces and other oral appliances that may or may not help when your child gets older. Be confident that it is uncommon for youngsters to require these kinds of interventions.
Possible problems if your infant keeps their mouth open while sleeping
You might not anticipate any significant effects from mouth breathing when you’re asleep. Dentists and medical professionals warn that if it persists for an extended period of time, a number of potential discomforts and other problems could arise.
Some adverse effects are:
A sore tongue
Cavities and other dental concerns
Breath that smells bad
Additionally, there could be issues like long-face syndrome. In essence, this indicates that your child’s lower facial features can lengthen abnormally. You might notice the following features:
A bigger chin
A “gummy” gingival grin
Broad overall face
Surgery can be used to change these characteristics.
Additionally, mouth breathing may result in a decrease in blood oxygen levels. This could eventually result in anything from high blood pressure to cardiac problems.
Finally, there is sleep. Children and babies who breathe through their mouths while they sleep frequently don’t get as deep of slumber as those who do.
In fact, there is a connection between mouth breathing and the signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In fact, some children who have been labeled with ADHD may actually be having problems due to sleep deprivation brought on by mouth breathing. Both illnesses have comparable symptoms.
Therefore, you can more effectively manage the underlying problem if you can determine that your child’s mouth breathing is the cause of their lack of sleep.