The link below is a talk given by John Flutter on YouTube. John is an Australian dentist who has devoted many years traveling the world trying to get this simple message across both to other dentists and orthodontists but also to parents of young children. LINK
If the consequences of mouth breathing were just an unattractive face that would be bad enough considering how simple it would be to avoid this but the health consequences are potentially far more serious. Any child that normally breaths through the mouth will almost certainly be hyperventilating or in other words over-breathing.
Over-breathing sets in train a host of physiological disturbances that range from respiratory problems such as asthma, through behavioral problems due to poor oxygen delivery to the brain, to serious health problems in later life such as hypertension, panic attacks, and sleep apnoea if this breathing habit continues into adulthood.
Professor Konstantin Buteyko clearly demonstrated these matters from his research in Russia almost half a century ago, a remarkable American artist published a book on this subject over a century ago! (“Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life“) Yet the message has still not been received by mainstream medicine and dentistry. Perhaps this is not unusual as osteopathy has been around for about 150 years trying to make the even simpler message that the body, like any other mechanical system, is governed by the same laws of physics. That structure governs function and function can alter structure. Apparently in the modern medical mind the human body is unique in the universe in that it does not matter how it is aligned or put together!
Older readers will probably recall being severely admonished by parents if they were caught with their mouths gaping, breathing through the mouth. We were told it was rude, bad manners and that flies would get in! This was good intuitive wisdom, the same wisdom that George Catlin found amongst all North & South American Indians in his travels. These “primitive” people never allowed their babies or children to mouth breathe and would gently close the mouth of a baby if ever they found it open. He also found their children were remarkably healthy and all had beautiful features and well developed facial structures. Unfortunately today flip through any fashion magazine and you will see the majority of women posing with open mouths as this is currently seen as seductive and glamorous. I would just remind them to make sure they close their mouths again after the photo shoots to avoid a lifetime of ill health!
Michael Lingard BSc DO BBEC
(BBEC, Buteyko Breathing Educators Council )