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.