Tonsils & Adenoids?? Know More How An Airway Focused Pediatric Dentist Can Help Your Child! Written By: Dr. Ankita Shah, Jan 2021

Tonsils and Adenoids

"OMG! My child has swollen tonsils and adenoids! As a mother, I always have these questions running across my head: "Why does my child get frequent cold, cough and ear infections! Why is my child is snoring, is it normal? Would he/she have genetically acquired from my husband or me?"


Well, you will be astonished to know what illusion was framed in your mind? There is actually something else going on here.

Let's first understand, What are tonsils and adenoids?
Tonsils are tiny tissues located in the back of the mouth on both sides of the throat while an adenoid is also a similar tissue but it is located behind the nose.

You may commonly notice children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids having:

Sore throat

Frequent cold & cough

Frequent ear infection

Trouble swallowing

Mouth breathing

Noisy breathing


Disturbed Sleep

Adenoid facies

Long face

Narrow upper jaw

Backwardly pushed lower jaw

Droopy Eyes


Early Signs Of ADHD

Delayed Milestones And Growth


Most of the time we tend to believe that it is genetic. Even I had it as a child and I was always told that it was because I was prone to allergies, some reaction to food or may be pollution.

It is shocking to know what science tells us is completely the opposite! There are two schools of thought as to why these tissues become inflamed and infected. For instance; Is mouth breathing causing Tonsils and adenoids or Are the enlarged tonsils and adenoids causing mouth breathing? Confusing, Right? It is like the analogy whether the “chicken came first or the egg?


Most times, we are made to believe that tonsils and adenoid can be cured by medications. But have you noticed that once the medications are over, your child is still getting recurrent cold and cough. Why is this happening? This means that something else is going on here which requires our attention. This clearly indicates we haven’t treated the root cause of tonsils and adenoids which is establishing a continuous nasal breathing and correcting the size and position of nasal cavity, jaws and airways.

When you breathe through your mouth, you exhale a lot more of carbon dioxide gas, than normal, which in turn signals your brain that you’re breathing too much. Subsequently our body starts compensating to decrease the breathing by enlarging the tonsils and adenoids which in turn block the nasal airway passage.

Another important thing to remember about mouth breathing is that you do not produce nitric oxide gas which in turn helps to decrease the inflammation of tonsils and adenoid by fighting against the bacteria and viruses.

The gold standard norm of treatment in medicine to treat adenoid and tonsils has been:

Antibiotics,Corticosteroids and Homeopathy - Will they resolve the mouth breathing and are we willing to give the child recurrent medication every time an episode occurs?

Nasal Saline rinses, Nasal Drops and Nasal Sprays

Surgical Intervention - to remove the enlarged tonsils and adenoid through tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy respectively.

BUT RESEARCH TODAY, tells us that we need to establish a complete nasal breathing using Breath Retraining and Oral Myofunctional Therapy in combination with the above treatment alternatives to prevent recurrent episodes of tonsils and adenoids.

Unfortunately, there is rarely any information or advice given to parents about the importance of nasal breathing and the effect of size and position of nasal cavity, jaws and airways on recurrent tonsils and adenoids. If complete nasal breathing is not restored during wake and sleep, despite short-term improvements after medications and adeno/tonsillectomy, continued mouth breathing can cause recurrent episodes of tonsils and adenoids which may result in sleep disordered breathing.

If your child has recurrent tonsils and adenoids, parents should consider visiting a pediatric dentist skilled in Airway Orthodontics and Oral Myofunctional Therapy. Parents must ask their dentist about forward development of the airways and maxillary expansion (widening of the upper jaw) before considering tonsillectomy for their child. The airway can be developed by Breath Retraining, Oral Myofunctional Therapy and Airway Orthodontics thus eliminating mouth breathing and reducing the inflammation of the tonsils and adenoids.


Early intervention is important whenever possible. Mouth Breathing also changes growth of jaws which further affects the size of the airway and nasal cavity space. The face is already 90% developed by the time the child is 11 or 12 years old. The window of opportunity to easily change the growth of nasal cavity, jaws, airway and face begins from infancy until 11 yrs of age. This does not mean that there are no treatment options for pre-teens, teenagers and adults. It’s never too late to address a breathing pattern disorder. However, the longer you leave it, the more difficult the problem is to correct, and the more challenging the process will be for the patient.

Either way the airway is pivotal both to the problem and the solution. It’s safe to say that the mouth is for eating and the nose is for breathing.


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