Mouth or Nasal Breathing – Why does it matter?
As we all know, breathing provides our bodies with oxygen which is critical for survival. Most people don’t give much thought to how that oxygen enters their body. Are you breathing through your nose or your mouth or a combination of both?
Well, studies suggest that close to 80% of the population breathe wrong and that can have a detrimental effect to your overall health.
What is the proper way to breathe you ask? While at times it may be okay to breathe through your mouth, our bodies function at a much higher level when we are breathing through the nose. Breathing with our nose is how the body was designed. And when we use the body the way it is designed it functions better.
Nasal breathing filters the air as it passes into the body and creates the optimal oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange resulting in a balanced PH. Another benefit to nasal breathing is the production of nitric oxide.
Our sinuses produce nitric oxide which is known to fight harmful bacteria and viruses (like COVID-19), it regulates blood pressure and improves the body’s immune system.
How does mouth breathing affect the body?
In children mouth breathing can cause poor growth and development, facial deformities, crooked teeth, cavities and lead to obstructive sleep apnea as adults. In adults, chronic mouth breathing can cause cavities, gum disease, bad breath, low energy levels, along with many other systemic diseases.
Mouth breathing is often worse. Signs and symptoms of nighttime mouth breathing are snoring, dry mouth and even sleep apnea.
What causes mouth breathing?
The most common causes of mouth breathing are:
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Deviated septum and/or nasal airway obstruction
- Chronic nasal infections
- Respiratory infections
What can be done to treat mouth breathing?
Mouth breathing may sound like an easy problem to fix but it is not as simple as just closing your mouth. In fact, it can be quite complicated and time consuming. The first step is to understand why you are mouth breathing in the first place, essentially you want to get to the root of the problem.
There are many medical professionals that may play a role in helping to treat this problem such as your dentist, a myofunctional therapist, ENT among others. Talk to your dental professional at your next appointment if you think you may be a mouth breather.
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