Unilateral naris occlusion, a standard method for causing odor deprivation, also alters airflow on both sides of the nasal cavity. We reasoned that manipulating airflow by occlusion could affect nasal turbinate development given the ubiquitous role of environmental stimuli in ontogenesis. To test this hypothesis, newborn mice received unilateral occlusion or sham surgery and were allowed to reach adulthood. Morphological measurements were then made of paraffin sections of the whole nasal cavity. Occlusion significantly affected the size, shape and position of turbinates. In particular, the nasoturbinate, the focus of our quantitative analysis, had a more delicate appearance on the occluded side relative to the open side. Occlusion also caused an increase in the width of the dorsal meatus within the non-occluded and occluded nasal fossae, compared with controls, and the position of most turbinates was altered. These results suggest that a mechanical stimulus from respiratory airflow is necessary for the normal morphological development of turbinates. To explore this idea, we estimated the mechanical forces on turbinates caused by airflow during normal respiration that would be absent as a result of occlusion. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were used to construct a three-dimensional model of the mouse nasal cavity that provided the input for a computational fluid dynamics simulation of nasal airflow. The simulation revealed maximum shear stress values for the walls of turbinates in the 1 Pa range, a magnitude that causes remodeling in other biological tissues. These observations raise the intriguing possibility that nasal turbinates develop partly under the control of respiratory mechanical forces.