Open Access Research article

Habitual snoring and atopic state: correlations with respiratory function and teeth occlusion

Anna Maria Zicari1, Giuseppe Marzo2, Anna Rugiano1, Camilla Celani1, Maria Palma Carbone1, Simona Tecco2* and Marzia Duse1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Paediatric Science, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy

2 Department of Life, Health and Enviromnental Science, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy

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BMC Pediatrics 2012, 12:175  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-175

Published: 7 November 2012



Allergy represents a risk factor at the base of sleep-disordered breathing in pediatric age. Among allergic diseases, the atopy is characterized by a tendency to be “hyperallergic.” Sleep-disordered breathing is also known in orthodontics as correlated with the morphology of craniofacial complex. The aim of this study was to investigate the relation between atopy and sleep-disordered breathing (oral breathers with habitual snoring), comparing atopic children with sleep-disordered breathing (test group) with nonatopic ones with sleep-disordered breathing (control group), in the prevalence of dento-skeletal alterations and other risk factors that trigger sleep-disordered breathing, such as adenotonsillar hypertrophy, turbinate hypertrophy, obesity, and alteration of oxygen arterial saturation.


In a group of 110 subjects with sleep-disordered breathing (6 to 12 years old), we grouped the subjects into atopic (test group, 60 subjects) and nonatopic (control group, 50 subjects) children and compared the data on the following: skin allergic tests, rhinoscopy, rhinomanometry, night home pulsoxymetry, body mass index, and dento-facial alterations.


Even if our results suggest that atopy is not a direct risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing, the importance of a physiologic nasal respiration in the pathogenesis of sleep-disordered breathing seems to be demonstrated in our study by the higher prevalence of hypertrophy in the adenotonsillar lymphatic tissue, odontostomatological alterations, alterations of the oxygen saturation to pulsoxymetry, and higher prevalence of obesity observed in our children with sleep-disordered breathing, in percentages higher than that of the general pediatric population previously observed in the literature.


The importance of a physiologic nasal respiration in the pathogenesis of sleep-disordered breathing is demonstrated in our study.

Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB); Atopy; Dento-facial morphology; Allergy; Oral breathing; Snoring