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What causes mouth breathing in children?

Q: My son is 5 and a half years old and breathes through his mouth. His breathing during sleep is very noisy. When I checked up with the ENT specialist I was told he had a deviated nasal septum. He had been operated for adenoids six months ago. The doctor also said that his tonsils may be creating a problem too. I wish to know if this will affect his growth as the oxygen intake will be lesser? What non-medical remedies can I take to lessen the problem and not aggravate it further?

A:Mouth breathing commonly occurs in children because of deviated septum and enlarged tonsils/adenoids. Most children grow out of the problem by 12 years of age. The need for surgery for adenoids and tonsils occurs when the mouth breathing is causing significant oxygen depletion during sleep. This is manifest by: 1. Excessive snoring, 2. Restlessness, tossing in bed while sleeping, 3. Feeling tired and sleepy during day, suggesting sleep deprivation, 4. Bed wetting, 5. Growth retardation. In such circumstances, contact your paediatrician for advice.

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