Impact of breathing patterns on the quality of life of 9- to 10-year-old schoolchildren

Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2016 Sep;30(5):147-52. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2016.30.4363.


Background: Mouth breathing can cause a set of changes in craniofacial growth and development, with esthetic, functional, and psychological repercussions.

Objective: To determine the impact of mouth breathing on the quality of life of schoolchildren.

Methods: A school-based, cross-sectional study was conducted with 1911 children ages 9 and 10 years in the city of Recife, Brazil. The children answered the Mouth Breather Quality of Life questionnaire and a questionnaire that addressed sociodemographic data and health-related aspects. Clinical examinations were performed by an examiner who had undergone a training and calibration process for the diagnosis of mouth breathing (kappa = 0.90). Descriptive statistics were conducted to characterize the sample. Statistical analysis involved the Student's t-test and the F test (analysis of variance) (alpha = 5%).

Results: The prevalence of mouth breathing was 54.81%. Children with oral breathing demonstrated a poorer quality of life in comparison with children with nasal breathing (p < 0.001). The following variables were significantly associated with a poorer quality of life among the children with mouth breathing: a younger age (p < 0.001) and the use of medication (p = 0.002).

Conclusion: Based on the present findings, children with the mouth-breathing pattern experience a greater negative impact on quality of life in comparison with those with the nose-breathing pattern. Thus, the early diagnosis and treatment of this clinical condition are fundamental to minimizing the consequences of mouth breathing on the quality of life of schoolchildren with respiration disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors*
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth Breathing / epidemiology*
  • Population*
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires