Etiology, clinical manifestations and concurrent findings in mouth-breathing children

J Pediatr (Rio J). 2008 Nov-Dec;84(6):529-35. doi: 10.2223/JPED.1844.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Objective: To investigate the etiology, main clinical manifestations and other concurrent findings in mouth-breathing children aged 3 to 9 years and resident in the urban area of Abaeté (MG), Brazil.

Methods: This study was based on a representative random sample of the town population, of 23,596 inhabitants. Clinical diagnosis of mouth-breathing was defined as a combination of snoring, sleeping with mouth open, drooling on the pillow and frequent or intermittent nasal obstruction. Children with a clinical diagnosis of mouth-breathing underwent nasal endoscopy, allergy skin tests and X ray of the rhinopharynx, full blood tests, eosinophil counts, total IgE assay and fecal parasitology. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 10.5.

Results: The main causes of mouth-breathing were: allergic rhinitis (81.4%), enlarged adenoids (79.2%), enlarged tonsils (12.6%), and obstructive deviation of the nasal septum (1.0%). The main clinical manifestations of mouth breathers were: sleeping with mouth open (86%), snoring (79%), itchy nose (77%), drooling on the pillow (62%), nocturnal sleep problems or agitated sleep (62%), nasal obstruction (49%), and irritability during the day (43%).

Conclusion: Certain clinical manifestations are very common among mouth-breathing children. These manifestations must be recognized and considered in the clinical diagnosis of mouth-breathing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoids / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth Breathing* / diagnosis
  • Mouth Breathing* / etiology
  • Nasal Obstruction / complications*
  • Nasal Obstruction / epidemiology
  • Nasal Septum / pathology
  • Palatine Tonsil / pathology
  • Rhinitis / complications*
  • Rhinitis / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Snoring / complications*
  • Snoring / epidemiology