Mouth breathing habit: a review

Milind Wasnik, Sadanand Kulkarni, Niharika Gahlod, Sneha Khekade, Durga Bhattad, Harshita Shukla


Human beings are considered to be nose breathers but various reasons can force them to adapt by breathing through their mouth instead of nose, and this can have extensive consequences. Breathing through both nose and mouth provide lungs with oxygen but with extremely dissimilar effects on the body and with different levels of oxygen supply. Mouth breathing as a habitual respiration through the mouth instead of the nose. Mouth breathing results in a wide spectrum of consequences. These consequences involve different areas of the body which include mouth, craniofacial development, upper and lower airway. Mouth breathing can be considered as the most obvious manifestation of a syndromic pattern. Mouth breathing habit generally have severe effects on the growth of the facial skeleton and also on the occlusion of teeth on account of the displacement of normal lateral, buccal and lingual muscular forces. The pathogenesis of mouth breathing habit is complex and multifactorial. Mouth breathing is best managed by using a multidisciplinary approach where the specialists include pediatrician, physicians, pediatric dentists and ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialists. Since there is a close correlation between oral breathing and dento-facial in harmonies, the pediatrician and pediatric dentist should work together after an early identification of an oral breathing in a child. This review article aims to survey the scientific literature in regarding prevalence, etiology, consequences and treatments for mouth breathing in order to update the healthcare professionals regarding the recognition of this syndrome and sensitize them looking for an early and comprehensive intervention.


Mouth breathing, Nose breathing, Oral habits

Full Text:



Malhotra S, Pandey RK, Nagar A, Agarwal SP, Gupta VK. The effect of mouth breathing on dentofacial morphology of growing child. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2012;30:27-31.

Wagner C. Habitual mouthbreathing: its causes, effects, and treatment. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1881: 10-11.

Nadaf N, KrishnapriyaV, Shilpa G, Challa S, Ramakrishna VVV, Ganesh M. Mouth breathing- a harmful habit in a young child. ARC J Forens Sci. 2018;3(2):25-9.

Klein JC. Nasal respiratory function and craniofacial growth. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1986;112(8):843-9.

Page DC, Mahony D. The airway, breathing and orthodontics. Todays FDA. 2010;22(2):43-7.

Takahashi S, Ono O, Ishiwata Y, Kuroda T. Effect of changes in the breathing mode and body position on tiungue pressure with respiratory-related oscillations. Am J Orthod Dentofac Orthop. 1999;155:239-46.

Moss ML, Rankow RM. The role of the functional matrix in mandibular growth. Angle Orthod. 1968;38(2):95-103.

Paul JL, Nanda RS. Effect of mouth breathing on dental occlusion. Angle Orthodont. 1973;43(2):201-6.

Giacomello MS, Caccianiga GL, Zammarchi E, Baldini A, Papagna R. Chronic low back pain and deep bite: analysis of the pathophysiological mechanism. Dent Mod. 2003;11:59-65.

Holik F. Relation between habitual breathing through the mouth and muscular activity of the tongue. Cesk Stomatol. 1957;57:170-80.

Agarwal L, Tandon R, Kulshrestha R, Gupta A. Adenoid facies and its management: an orthodontic perspective. Indian J Orthodont Dentofac Res. 2016;2(2):50-5.

Onder S, Caypinar B, Sahin-Yilmaz A, Toros SZ, Oysu C. Relation of mean platelet volume with obstructive adenoid hypertrophy in children. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014;78(9):1449-51.

Leboulanger N. Nasal obstruction and mouth breathing: the ENT's point of view. Orthod Fr. 2013;84(2):185-90.

Jefferson Y. Mouth breathing: adverse effects on facial growth, health, academics, and behavior. Gen Dentist. 2010;58(1):18-25.

Bishara SE. Textbook of Orthodontics. Philadelphia, W B Saunders Co; 2001:606.

Gill DS, Naini FB. Orthodontics: Principles and Practice. Wiley- Blackwell; 2011: 281.

Rao J. QRS for BDS 4th Year. Pedodontics. 1st edn. Elsevier India. 2014: 164.

Singh G. Oral habits and their management. In: Textbook of Orthodontics. 2nd edn. Jaypee Publishers; 2007: 581-612.

Tandon S. Commonly Occurring Oral Habits in Children and their Management. In: Textbook of Pedodontics. 2nd edn. Paras Publishers; 2008:492-526.

Finn, Sim JM, Finn SB. Clinical Pedodontics oral habits in children Ch. 17. 4th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co.; 2003:370-385.

Trabalon M and Schaal B. It takes a mouth to eat and a nose to breathe: abnormal oral respiration affects neonates’ oral competence and systemic adaptation. Int J Pediatr. 2012(2):207605.

Singh S, Awasthi N, Gupta T. Mouth breathing-its consequences, diagnosis and treatment. Acta Scient Dent Sci. 2020;4(5):32-41.

Jain A, Bhaskar DJ, Gupta D, Yadav P, Dalai DR, Jhingala V, et al. Mouth breathing: a menace to developing dentition. J Contemp Dent. 2014;4(3):145-51.

Bhatia A, Sharma RK, Tewari S, Narula SC. A randomized clinical trial of salivary substitute as an adjunct to scaling and root planing for management of periodontal inflammation in mouth breathing patients. J Oral Sci. 2015;57(3):241-7.

Huber RE, Reynolds JW. A dentofacial study of male students at the University of Michigan in the physical hardening program. Am J Orthodont Oral Surg. 32(1946):1-21.

Knosel M, Jung K, Kinzinger G, Bauss O, Engelke W. A controlled evaluation of oral screen effects on intra-oral pressure curve characteristics. Eur J Orthodont. 2010;32(5):535-41.

Cattoni DM, Fernandes FDM, Di Francesco RC, Latorre MRDO. Characteristics of the stomatognathic system of mouth breathing children: anthroposcopic approach. Pro Fono. 2007;19(4):347-51.

Fujimoto S, Yamaguchi K, Gunjigake K. Clinical estimation of mouth breathing. Am J Orthod Dentofac Orthop. 2009;136(5):630,e1-7.

De Castilho LS, Abreu MH, DE Oliveira RB, Souza E Silva ME, Resende VL. Factors associated with mouth breathing in children with developmental disabilities. Spec Care Dentist. 2016;36(2):75-9.

Bhayya DP, Shyagali TR. Prevalence of oral habits in 11-13 year-old school children in Gulbarga city, India. Virtual J Orthodont. 2009;8(3):1-4.

Guaba K, Ashima G, Tewari A, Utreja A. Prevalence of malocclusion and abnormal habits in North Indian rural children. J Indian Soc Pedodont Prevent Dentist. 1998;16(1):26-30.

Shukla DK, Sidhu S, Kharbanda OP, Karimassery SR. Oral habits in school going children of Delhi: a prevalence study. J Indian Soc Pedo Prev Dent. 2003 Sep;21(3):120-4.

Abou-Ei-Ezz A, Naseef EH, Attia KH. Prevalence of mouth breathing as etiologic factors of malocclusion in a group of Egyptian school children. J Egypt Dent Associat. 2006;52(2):703-6.

Bresolin D, Shapiro GG, Shapiro PA, Dassel SW, Furukawa CT, Pierson WE, et al. Facial characteristics of children who breathe through the mouth. Pediatrics. 1984;73(5):622-5.

Conti PB, Sakano E, Ribeiro MA, Schivinski CI, Ribeiro JD. Assessment of the body posture of mouth-breathing children and adolescents. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2011;87(4):357-63.

Abreu RR, Rocha RL, Lamounier JA, Guerra AF. Etiology, clinical manifestations and concurrent findings in mouth-breathing children. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2008;84(6):529-35.

Bluestone CD. Current indications for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol Suppl. 1992;155(7):58-64.

Jefferson Y. Mouth breathing: adverse effects on facial growth, health, academics, and behavior. Gen Dent. 2010;58(1):18-25.

Grippaudo C, Paolantonio EG, Antonini G, Saulle R, La Torre G, Deli R. Association between oral habits, mouth breathing and malocclusion. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2016;36(5):386-94.

Melo DL, Santos RV, Perilo TV, Becker HM, Motta AR. Mouth breathing evaluation: use of Glatzel mirror and peak nasal inspiratory flow. Codas. 2013;25(3):236-41.