Most people I talk to now know what Sleep Apnea is, and everyone understands snoring.  It's a disease of older fat men, right?

Not quite.  Did you know that a significant number of children have Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) now that can become the full blown Sleep Breathing Disorders of adulthood?

The adaptation from nasal to mouth breathing takes place when changes such as chronic middle ear infections, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, upper airway infections, and sleep disturbances (e.g., snoring) take place. In addition, mouth breathing is often associated with a decrease in oxygen intake into the lungs.

Mouth breathing can particularly affect the growing face, as the abnormal pull of these muscle groups on facial bones slowly deforms these bones, causing misalignment.

The earlier in life these changes take place, the greater the alterations in facial growth, and ultimately an open mouth posture is created where the upper lip is raised and the lower jaw is maintained in an open posture.

The tongue, which is normally tucked under the roof of the mouth, drops to the floor of the mouth and protrudes to allow a greater volume of air intake. Consequently, an open mouth posture can lead to malocclusions and problems in swallowing. Other causes of open-mouth posture are weakness of lip muscles, overall lack of tone in the body or hypotonia, and prolonged/chronic allergies of the respiratory tract.

The issue is now important enough that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines on treatment of children with SDB and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  (see here for a copy)

Using the mouth for breathing disrupts our natural body mechanics. The root of the problem in many cases is oxygen deprivation. In children, mouth breathing has been linked to poor growth and weak academic performance, as well as ADD and ADHD symptoms.

In adults, poor oxygen concentration in the bloodstream has been associated with high blood pressure, heart problems, sleep apnea and other medical issues.

In addition, breathing through your mouth can lead to postural changes and spinal issues. When the tongue is in the wrong position, the head tends to rest forward, causing the shoulders to slump. When the mouth is open, it’s also more difficult to sit up straight.

Warning signs:
Mouth breathing
Allergic Shiners”/Dark circles under the eyes
Dry and Chapped Lips
Teeth grinding
Daytime sleepiness
Consistent Nasal Congestion
Increased risk of cavities
Bad Breath
Sore throat and cold symptoms
Digestive disturbances – gas, upset stomach, acid reflux, etc.

Allergic Shiners
Inflammation that expands the tiny blood vessels under eyes.
As a result these swollen blood vessels rub against the thin skin of the eyes and dark color appears.
Blocked nasal passages also cause dark circles. The veins from the eyes to the nose become dark and dilated.



Children shouldn’t have to depend on a breathing machine, getting to the ROOT CAUSE allows a normal childhood. Early intervention to teach kids how to use their nose for breathing is of utmost importance.

At HH Wellness, I have a team approach to helping you or your child to breathe properly.

Ideal sleep happens when the lips are closed.

If you or your child/teen have sleep problems, I might be able to help you find some solutions with only a little information from you.  With a state-of-the art sleep screener, it can help identify and correct ~ 87% of the major and most common sleep disorders in children and teens. 

First you need to ask yourself if your child or adolescent has any of the warning signs of a major sleep disorder that are listed below:

RED FLAGS of a Sleep Disorder:

  • Snoring in Sleep?
  • Difficulty Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep?
  • Kicking or moving around often in sleep?
  • Nighttime bedwetting?
  • Choking, gasping or snorting in sleep?
  • Too active or too tired in daytime?
  •  Irritable or temperamental?
  • Difficulty awakening?
  • Staying awake too late at night?
  • Open mouth breathing in day or nighttime?
  • Little sleep attacks or excessive daytime sleepiness?
  • Breathing stops briefly or for many seconds during sleep?
  • Distractible/Difficulty concentrating on homework or difficult tasks?
  • Learning or memory problems?
  •  Behavior problems or more irritability than others of the same age?


Major sleep disorders need to be identified and corrected as soon as possible because most of them cause either cognitive (memory and processing problems), learning, behavioral, and/or health problems.  These sleep problems can significantly impair your child's school performance, health and safety.

If you are interested in identifying your child's sleep problems with 86%-96% accuracy (when compared with overnight sleep study results), and about 80% accuracy for adults, then you may want to read more below about an on-line sleep screener.

Within 10-15 minutes, you can be on your way to solving most sleep problems that disrupt sleep and could be seriously impairing you or your child's health, cognitive functioning, learning, behaviors, and/or jeopardizing safety. It could also save you or your child lots of sleep deprivation and struggles with irritability, oppositional behaviors, poor concentration, and low academic achievement if the sleep disorder is corrected! It could even save you from falling asleep at the wheel while driving and injuring or killing yourself and others! Once a sleep disorder is corrected, the child, teen, or adult will feel much happier, energetic, motivated, and able to concentrate on difficult learning tasks or work!

The SDIS and one other non-English screener are the only two sleep screening inventories out of thousands of sleep screeners developed worldwide for children and adolescents that used all 11 recommended steps of proper development and validation, which resulted in high reliability and good validity (accuracy) (Spruyt & Gozal, Sleep Medicine Review, 2011).


Click here to take a FREE comprehensive screening for your child or for an adult screening

My Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy programs include:
1. Habit elimination therapy.
2. Exercises to improve nasal breathing and oral facial functions.
3. Teaching and promoting proper chewing, breathing, and swallowing.
4. Re-patterning head and neck posture problems.
5. Generalization and habituation of the new muscle patterns.  
6. Emotional balancing

Parental involvement is very important to a child's success, and key to that success is a supportive environment that provides consistent encouragement and motivation necessary for positive and permanent change.




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