The Surprising Connection Between Mouth Breathing and Child Behaviour

If you’ve been reading our articles for a while, you’re likely familiar with the many negative impacts that mouth breathing can have on your health. From dry mouth and bad breath to dental problems and changes in facial shape, the consequences of mouth breathing can be surprisingly wide-ranging.

One issue we’ve only briefly touched on is the potential link between mouth breathing and behavioural issues, particularly in children.

What you may find surprising is that studies suggest that some children who mouth breathe may experience behavioural issues similar to those experienced by children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Here we discuss the effects of mouth breathing on child behaviour and mental health and how Myospots might help.

Is mouth breathing really a problem?

You can breathe through your mouth, your nose, or a combination of the two, but your body functions best when most of your oxygen is taken in through your nose. 

This is because, when you breathe through your nose, your air is humidified and filtered. Toxins and debris are prevented from getting to your lungs and the optimal amount of oxygen can reach your brain, allowing it to function at its best. 

Mouth breathing is less efficient at getting oxygen into your lungs and bloodstream, meaning, your brain might not be getting enough of the oxygen it needs. The end results? 

Your brain may struggle to function at its full potential.

In children, breathing through the nose is important for healthy development as it allows the best conditions for the essential growth kids undergo. 

Does mouth breathing really cause child behaviour issues?

You might be wondering if there’s any substance to the idea that how we breathe can impact our behaviour and mental health. Well, it turns out there is indeed a connection.

Consider this, if you’re breathing through your mouth while you’re sleeping, you may find your sleep is more disrupted and less restorative. 

Research suggests that children who wake often during the night, as is common in those who mouth breathe, often struggle to reach the deeper stages of sleep needed to recharge them for their day.

If mouth breathing is stopping your little one from sleeping well, they may feel tired and struggle to concentrate, and they could also be more irritable and forgetful. If left untreated this may lead to learning, emotional and behavioural issues.

If your child isn’t breathing properly, they might not be getting the oxygen they need for their brain to function properly. This could result in:

  • Disordered sleep patterns
  • Delays in cognitive development
  • Concentration and problem-solving difficulties
  • Reduced participation in social activities
  • Impaired emotional development
  • Poor school performance
  • Misdiagnosis of conditions like ADHD

Does mouth breathing cause ADHD? 

There are certainly similarities in the symptoms caused by mouth breathing and the symptoms experienced by those living with ADHD, however, one doesn’t necessarily cause the other. 

Literature suggests that breathing issues, such as mouth breathing, may increase a child’s likelihood of developing behavioural problems resembling ADHD by 40 to 100 times

Also, the Sleep Health Foundation, reports that up to 70% of children with ADHD struggle with sleep.

Some common symptoms, which may be shared in both mouth breathing and ADHD include:

  • Brain fog
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Distraction
  • Quick temper

How Myospots may help

The bottom line is that mouth breathing delivers less oxygen to your brain than breathing through your nose. That, coupled with the sleep-related breathing disorders, often associated with mouth breathing, might create a problem, especially in children.

If you or your child are struggling with behavioural issues or sleep disturbances, it might be worth being assessed for mouth breathing. 

As mouth breathing is commonly caused by poor tongue posture, Myospots aims to help you break your mouth breathing habit by helping you retrain your tongue to sit in the correct position.

Myospots are small, flavoured pads that stick to the roof of your mouth. Once in place, your tongue reflexively goes to rest against the roof of your mouth. 

With your tongue in this position, your mouth should naturally close, gently encouraging you to breathe through your nose. Repetition of this exercise will, in time, train your tongue to sit in the correct position, encouraging you to breathe through your nose.  

Check out our range of Myospots products to learn how we could help you retrain your tongue to sit correctly so that you can experience the benefits of breathing through your nose.

*All information is general in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Your healthcare provider can consult with you to confirm if this advice is right for you. 


Kalaskar, R., Bhaje, P., Kalaskar, A., & Faye, A. (2021). Sleep Difficulties and Symptoms of Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children with Mouth Breathing. International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry14(5), 604–609. https://doi.org/10.5005/jp-journals-10005-1987

‌ Sleep Health Foundation. (2020). ADHD and Sleep in Children. https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/adhd-and-sleep-in-children.html

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