Children who breathe through their mouths because of a dental issue may be easily misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The result can be a lifetime of being given powerful drugs unnecessarily.
“Mouth breathing is often caused by an obstruction in the nasal airway, frequently resulting in lower oxygen to the brain,” says Dr. Ami Barakat, author of Perfecting Smiles, Changing Lives (www.villanovadental.com). “More than half of the people diagnosed with ADHD are mouth breathers. That is too significant a statistic to be a coincidence.”
“I don’t believe that every diagnosed case of ADHD can be eradicated with solving mouth breathing issues,” says Dr. Barakat. “But for parents who have a child who is a mouth breather who also has been diagnosed with ADHD, it is best to get a second opinion from a dentist. Because once they accept the ADHD label on their child, that means the child could be given powerful drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall for the rest of their lives.”
- Can any dentist diagnose these problems with mouth breathers or do they need a special designation?
- Are most people born with mouth breathing issues or can they develop over time?
- Do mouth breathers always breathe out of their mouths or do they occasionally get air through their noses? In other words, is it all or nothing or are their varying degrees of not being able to breathe out of the nose?
- Why do you believe mouth breathing is so frequently misdiagnosed as ADHD?
Dr. Barakat can discuss why this misdiagnosis can happen, and what the correct treatment might be.