Effect of etiology of mouth breathing on craniofacial morphology

Document Type : Original


1 Assistant Professor, Otorhinolaryngology – head and neck surgery department, Ghaem hospital,

2 Assistant Professor, Orthodontia department, Dental school,

3 Assistant Professor, Otorhinolaryngology – head and neck surgery department,

4 Associated Professor, Community medicine and public health department, Ghaem hospital,


Introduction: Nasal septal deviation and hypertrophy of the adenoids and palatine tonsils are two common causes of nasopharyngeal obstruction and consequently mouth breathing in children. It is accepted that chronic mouth breathing influences craniofacial growth and development. The aim of this study was to evaluate the differences of craniofacial morphology in children with two different etiological factors of mouth breathing.
Materials and Methods: Study design: cross sectional. The research was conducted between 2005-2007 on 47 predominantly mouth breathing patients aged 6-10 years. After otorhinolaryngologic examination, patients were divided into two groups based on the etiology of nasopharyngeal obstruction: group 1, with Adenoid hypertrophy and group 2 with nasal septal deviation. Lateral cephalometric radiographs were obtained to assess craniofacial development. Data gained were statistically evaluated by Mann-Whitney and T-student tests.
Results: With respect to the inclination of the mandibular and palatal planes, anteroposterior relationship of maxilla and mandible to the cranial base, and indexes of facial height proportions, no significant differences were observed between two groups of children with mouth breathing. Only the gonial and craniocervical angle measurements were significantly larger in children with adenoid hypertrophy (P<0.05).
Conclusions: The present study did not detect significant morphological differences between children with adenoid hypertrophy and those with nasal septal deviation. Mouth breathing seems to have a similar effect on craniofacial morphology irrespective of its etiology. Prospective studies with larger samples including older children are suggested.