A: Yes. Bulging tonsils and adenoids sometimes get so big that they block the nasal passages, often forcing the child to become a mouth breather. Chronic mouth breathing is a problem because it dries out the gums and can lead to cavities and gum disease. Mouth breathing can be especially troublesome in kids, because it can cause the jaw to grow improperly, forming an underbite or overbite. If your child is prone to tonsillitis, if her tonsils and adenoids are so large that they affect her breathing or swallowing, or if she's diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, the doctor may recommend that she have her tonsils and/or adenoids surgically removed. --Amy Linn
Copyright © 2003 Amy Linn. Reprinted with permission from the October 2003 issue of Parents magazine.