Mouth Breathing and Hyperactivity (ADHD)

What are the symptoms of Hyperactivity (ADHD)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the hyperactive and impulsive type of ADHD.  It is thought that 2 to 4 percent of children have this condition, and a shocking 50 percent of children with this condition are on some form of prescription medication. Not only is it seen in children, but adults can have it as well. 

Children with ADHD have six or more of the following symptoms, some of which start before they reach seven years of age:

  • Talks incessantly
  • Fidgety or squirmish in seat
  • On the go or acts as if on sugar rush
  • Leaves seat in the classroom or other situations when expected to remain seated
  • Runs or climbs when it is inappropriate
  • Plays loudly
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others
  • Blurts out answers before questions are completed
  • Difficulty waiting for turn or cutting into lines
  • Finish people’s sentences before they can finish themselves

No one knows exactly what causes ADHD, but certain things are known to play a role, including brain biochemical imbalances, environmental, dietary toxins, and allergic conditions. One possible explanation that doesn’t receive much attention is from lack of deep quality sleep.

Does your child breath through his/her mouth more than his/her nose? Mouth breathing is most common between two and 7 years of age but can start as early as the breastfeeding age. Breathing through the mouth while sleeping is a serious and damaging habit that can cause disastrous and lifelong effects on craniofacial development and overall health. It may seem like a harmless habit, but mouth breathing leads to restless sleep, snoring, and sleep apnea (abnormally long pauses in breathing during sleep) and disrupts ideal brain development and produce changes in the prefrontal cortex that can have profound and far-reaching effects in terms of attention, behavior and learning abilities as well as anxiety and depression.

 According to a 2012 study in Pediatrics, children who snore or who have other sleep disordered breathing conditions have 50–100 percent increased symptoms of hyperactivity [1]. Behavioral sleep problems can impair daytime function in ways that mimic ADHD’s manifestations.

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you do not have to resort to heavy drug treatments that affect the unique personality of your precious child. Get him/her evaluated for a sleep disordered breathing (SDB) by a physician or a dentist who specializes in sleep dentistry. Don’t take your child’s mouth breathing for granted. Identify sleep and airway issues and treat them as early as possible. Critical growth and development occur at a young age. School performance, behavior, and ADHD can all be associated with breathing and sleep quality. A sleep disorder not only results in a sleepy, moody, and often poor-performing child at school, but also an irritable, defiant, unhappy child at home. 
The parents are the best advocate for their children. Together with your sleep dentist, you could help put the airway at the center of medical awareness and diagnosis and educate other healthcare professionals, parents and teachers to evaluate for airway obstruction.
An open and functioning airway is the top priority in the well-being of kids, teens, and adults. After all, if there is no breath, there is no life. To breathe is to live. To breathe fully is to live fully.
Ranilo Tuazon, DDS is a holistic dentist/orthodontist
focusing on treatment of  snoring, sleep apnea,
TMJ Disorders, and craniofacial development
with oral appliance therapy.
He advocates the concept of minimum intervention
in all his treatments and practices the philosophy of WIDIOM
Would I Do It On Me? when treating patients.
He uses the latest technology and techniques
to offer accurate diagnoses and the most predictable results.
For more information, please call
Vacaville Dental Care at 707-451-4100 
or visit
[1] Bonuck, Karen et al. “Sleep-Disordered Breathing in a Population-Based Cohort: Behavioral Outcomes at 4 and 7 years,” Pediatrics, March 5, 2012, p. 8.