7 Causes Baby Sleeps With Mouth Open

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Do you know why your baby sleeps with mouth open? To know the causes and other factors, read further. While breathing through the mouth, the baby will open his mouth and sleep. Even new parents wonder are infants mouth breathers? The blockage in the nose can make the baby breathe through his mouth. Though breathing through the mouth may be normal sometimes, you may not take this as simple and leave it. It may cause other complications later age. It is advisable to visit a doctor to get medical advice.

You must know the fact that the baby may not have a natural response to breathing through his mouth until the age reaches around 3 to 4 months. The only reflex through the mouth he may have is crying. Research says that If you find your baby breathing through his mouth during sleep, it may be because of blockage in the nasal passage. The blockage may develop from a stuffy nose or throat infection or may be from other conditions. Breathing through the mouth may become a habit in the long run if it is not a concern and may find it hard to come out from that habit. It could develop sleep disorders like sleep apnea and dental problems.

Why the breathing through the nose is essential? When breathing through the mouth the amount of oxygen transmitted to the lungs is lower than the nose breathing. And more than that, it filters out bacteria and dust particles from entering the body. If you find mouth breathing during sleep continues in your baby, it is good to know the reasons.

7 Causes Baby Sleeps With Mouth Open

  1. Colds – A common cold can also produce excess mucus that can block air nasal passages, making breathing difficult. Mouth breathing due to a cold can clear by sucking the baby’s nose. It is one of the ways to try to solve this problem.
  2. Mucus- Mucus developed in the nose may cause the air to flow difficult in the nostril. It may affect the nose breathing and make the baby breathe through the mouth. Their recent cold infection or allergic condition can be the reason for a stuffy nose or mucus growth. An adult can clear the mucus if they feel blocked, but a baby can’t drain it on his own, so the baby starts to breathe through the mouth to send oxygen to the lungs.
  3. Sleep Apnea- A baby with sleep apnea can have symptoms of mouth breathing combined with a blocked airway. Sleep apnea occurs in babies and children due to enlarged adenoids or infected tonsils. In addition to mouth breathing, babies with sleep apnea may possess other symptoms such as irregular breathing, snoring, pauses in breathing, bed wetting, restless sleep, sleep terrors, snoring, coughing, and choking.
  4. Deviated Septum- A displacement of the nasal septum may block air passage and lead to mouth breathing. This condition is referred to as deviated septum, which occurs when there is an uneven septum and bone. And people who have a narrow upper jaw may have a mouth breathing problem.
  5. Habit- Babies with respiratory illness may have the habit of mouth breathing during sleep.
  6. Allergies- Babies are easily prone to allergens that cause excessive mucus production, which can block nasal airways. You can give a nasal aspirator to ease their block and help them breathe through the nose.
  7. Tongue-tied- Babies with tongue-tied find it difficult in sucking as the tongue cannot able to touch the roof of the mouth. Normally the tongue stays touching the roof as the action of suction during the nose breathing, if the tongue is not in act of sucking, the mouth falls open. This abnormality results in mouth breathing and also makes breastfeeding difficult. Sometimes the tongue may fall back into the airway and block the airway either partially or fully.

Thumb sucking and prolonged use of a pacifier can also cause a baby to breathe through their mouth. The pressure on the palate may force the jaw to stay narrow and can make the mouth open.

Consequences of Baby Sleeps With Mouth Open

  • As saliva evaporates quickly, the mouth and lips become dry
  • Allergens entering the lungs cause asthma in babies.
  • Babies with a habit of mouth breathing may have tongue thrusting problems.
  • Mouth breathing may affect the jaw and face muscles and change the facial appearance.
  • Mouth breathing can affect muscle development in the areas such as the pelvis, back, shoulders, and neck. It can lead to developing poor posture.
  • Research shows that mouth breathing may cause sleep disorders and other behavioral changes. Sleep disorders can cause symptoms as they can find in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Mouth breathing in babies may affect sleep quantity and quality. And also affect concentration, behavior, growth, and overall development.

Other side effects and complications include;

  • Dry cough
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Tongue inflammation
  • Cavities problem
  • Bad breathing
  • Gum disease
  • Long face syndrome
  • Affect the lower face features
  • Larger chin
  • Overall narrow face
  • In the long run, it may affect the heart and cause heart problems
  • Can cause high blood pressure

Top 6 Ways Treat Mouth Opening In Babies

  1. Humidifier- A humidifier helps in decongesting the stuffy nose and eases breathing through the nose by humidifying the air. A hot bath can also help in clearing the nasal blockage.
  2. Saline Water- Using saline water, you can quickly drain out the thick mucus by thinning it. Saline drops are safe to use.
  3. Increase Liquid Intake- Keep your baby hydrated to avoid mucus accumulation and nasal blockages. Frequent mothers feeding or formula feeding will help in this case.
  4. Bulb Syringe- Using a bulb syringe or any fancy snot suckers like NoseFrida, you can suck the mucus out and keep the nose mucus free. More mucus in the nose can block the airways and make breathing difficult.
  5. Air filter- The allergens in the air can easily cause nasal obstruction and lead to mouth breathing. Use the air filter to ensure the baby inhales pure air. It can reduce mucus development.
  6. Keep The Surrounding Clean – Make sure your surroundings are dust-free and pollution-free. If you have a pet in the house, clean the pet hair frequently. Keep your surroundings clean and neat. source

Time To See A Doctor – If Your Baby Sleeps With Mouth Open

You can use the treatments mentioned above to improve nasal breathing and avoid mouth breathing. If the tips are not working, if you find the mouth breathing is the cause of feeding and sleeping, visit your doctor immediately.

In other situations, like if you suspect that the mouth breathing occurs due to conditions such as a deviated septum or sleep apnea, you should visit the pediatrician to perform the test.

Occasional mouth breathing is normal in babies, you can skip it. But you find it frequently or regularly, you must seek medical attention. It may occur because of any causes mentioned above. It is time to visit a doctor.

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