Whether mouth-breathing is associated with dental misalignment has long been debated by experts and is not yet understood completely. Now, researchers from India have found new evidence that a compromised airway as found in asthmatic children has an effect on their dentoalveolar morphology, as malocclusion was found more frequently in these children.
In the study, researchers at the JSS Dental College and Hospital in Mysore took dental impressions of the upper and lower arches of 44 children diagnosed with asthma aged six to 12 and of 44 controls.
Among others, they found that the intermolar and the inter-incisal widths were smaller in both arches in asthmatic than in non-asthmatic children. This was most significant for females aged ten to 12 in particular, especially in the maxillary arch. The arch length in asthmatics showed consistently higher mean values in the maxillary and the mandibular arches. Moreover, a deeper palate was observed in this group.
In addition, malocclusion was very frequent in asthmatic children, the researchers said. More than 45 per cent of those in the six- to eight-year-old group had an open bite, 20 per cent a crossbite and another 20 per cent were found to have an increased overjet. Among the ten- to 12-year-olds, 15 per cent had an open bite, 30 per cent a crossbite and 10 per cent had an increased overjet.
The findings indicate that increased airway resistance in the respiratory system induced by allergic asthma may cause children to change from nasal to oral breathing, which can trigger modulations in cranio-facial growth patterns. Mouth-breathing may cause permanent changes in the musculoskeletal relationship, the researchers said.
Nevertheless, they emphasised that cranio-facial development is a multifactorial process that involves both genetic and environmental influences. To date, only a few studies have dealt with the question of whether dentoalveolar developmental anomalies in asthmatic children can be attributed to the disease. The results of the current study, however, provide evidence that asthma is one of the factors that could affect cranio-facial development, the researchers concluded.
The study was published in the November issue of the Pediatric Dental Journal.
Original Source: The Dental Tribune.com