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Introduction: Dental malocclusion has a multifactorial origin, so it is difficult to define specific strategies for preventing it. Mouth breathing and certain sucking habits, if they persist for more than 36 months, can have a negative influence. Objective: To identify potentially damaging factors to dental occlusion like mouth breathing and sucking habits in children aged 8 to 10 years old in Petrópolis, RJ. Methods: Cross-sectional, observational, descriptive study. Both male and female children between the ages of 8 to 10 years, enrolled in seven public schools of Petrópolis, were included. The identification protocol for mouth breathing child and the questionnaire on sucking habits (feeding bottle, pacifier and finger sucking) were applied to the students. Results: A total of 377 protocols for identification of mouth breathing children and 377 questionnaires for suction habits were evaluated. The following symptoms were reported: open mouth sleeping in 193 (51.2%), drooling on the pillow in 172 (45.6%), snoring in 131 (34.7%) and daily nasal obstruction in 118 (31,2 %). After application of Abreu criteria, a frequency of 243 (64%) mouth breathers and 134 (36%) nasal breathers was observed. Evaluation of the questionnaires about sucking habits demontrated 276 (73%) children with sucking habits and 101 (27%) without such habits. Of the 276 schoolchildren with sucking habits, those habits persisted for more than 3 years and 11 months in 149 children (54%). Conclusion: A high frequency of mouth breathing and sucking habits children were found.
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