The relationship between mouth breathing and dental caries, gingival inflammation, and halitosis in children is contentious with studies reporting positive and negative associations; this study aimed at investigating the effect of mouth breathing on dental, gingival health status, and halitosis.
Material and methods
An observational cross-sectional study was carried out involving 785 randomly selected children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15 in the city of Leipzig, Germany (LIFE Child cohort). Caries levels and gingival health status for the upper-right and the lower-left central incisors were assessed by evaluating ICDAS scores and CPI scores, respectively. A standardised questionnaire was used to assess self-reported mouth-breathing habit and halitosis.
This study showed a statistically significant association between halitosis and mouth breathing (OR=3.0; 95% CI: 1.5-6.2), and a significant increase in mouth breathing habit in males compared to females (59.7% vs. 40.3%; p<0.05). There were no statistically significant differences in ICDAS scores, orthodontic treatment, CPI scores, or socioeconomic status between the mouth and nasal-breathing groups.
Mouth breathing habit has no effect on the prevalence of caries or gingivitis based on examining the upper-right central incisor (11) and the lower-left central incisor. However, mouth breathers showed a significant increase in halitosis compared to nasal-breathing individuals.
Vol.20 – n.4/2019
Harvard: J. Alqutami, W. Elger, N. Grafe, A. Hiemisch, W. Kiess, C. Hirsch (2019) "Dental health, halitosis and mouth breathing in 10-to-15 year old children: A potential connection", European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 20(4), pp274-279. doi: 10.23804/ejpd.2019.20.04.03
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