Does the etiology of mouth breathing drive differential diagnoses across clinical disciplines? This is an interesting possibility in multidisciplinary care. There is a study that seeks to find out (Junqueira P, et al., Int J Orofacial Myology. 2010 Nov;36:27-32), in findings from speech-language pathology evaluations for orofacial function including tongue and lip rest postures, tonus, articulation and speech, voice and language, chewing, and deglutition in children who had a history of mouth breathing. In this study, the diagnoses for mouth breathing included allergic rhinitis, adenoidal hypertrophy, and allergic rhinitis with adenoidal hypertrophy. 414 subjects were included, of both genders, from 2 to 16-years old. The investigating team consisting of 3 speech-language pathologists, 1 pediatrician, 1 allergist, and 1 otolaryngologist, evaluated the patients. Multidisciplinary clinical examinations were carried out (complete blood counting, X-rays, nasofibroscopy, audiometry). The two most commonly found etiologies were allergic rhinitis, followed by functional mouth breathing. Of the 414 patients in the study, 346 received a speech-language pathology evaluation. The most prevalent finding in this group of 346 subjects was the presence of orofacial myofunctional disorders. The most frequently identified orofacial myofunctional disorder in these subjects who also presented mouth breathing included: habitual open lips rest posture, low and forward tongue rest posture and lack of adequate muscle tone.
There were no statistically significant relationships identified between etiology and speech-language diagnosis. Therefore, the specific type of etiology of mouth breathing does not appear to contribute to the presence, type, or number of speech-language findings which may result from mouth breathing behavior.
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