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Mouth Breathing vs Nasal Breathing

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Mouth Breathing vs Nasal Breathing

Breathing is, obviously, an essential function of life. Oxygen goes in, carbon dioxide goes out. Interestingly enough, one of the two passageways to your lungs you use to breathe — your nose or your mouth — makes a huge difference in your health and quality of life. If you’re finding yourself using your mouth more than your nose, you might be asking yourself, why do I breathe through my mouth instead of my nose? Keep reading to learn more about mouth breathing vs nasal breathing, causes, symptoms to look for, risk factors, long-term health effects, and how to start correcting your mouth breathing issue today.

Mouth Breathing vs Nasal Breathing: What’s the Difference?

The difference between mouth breathing vs nasal breathing is not as simple as it may seem. Although, the main (and obvious) difference is which airway you use to get oxygen to your lungs. While they both do the job of filling your lungs and keeping you alive, nose breathing is the healthier way of accomplishing this. Shockingly, however, according to a recent survey, a staggering 71 percent of beds across America are host to a mouth breather.

Why Nose Breathing is Important

There are several reasons nose breathing is important and why it is the preferred method over mouth breathing. These include:

Causes of Mouth Breathing

The leading cause of mouth breathing is that something is obstructing the airway in the nose. The obstruction then forces the body to go into survival mode. Since the preferred method is blocked, the body must choose the other route to get to the lungs, which is by the mouth.

Some causes for nasal obstruction include:

In addition to an obstruction blocking the nasal passage, stress and anxiety can cause you to breathe through your nose. This is because stress causes abnormal breathing. If you do not have a nasal obstruction, making simple lifestyle changes to lower your stress could fix a lot of your mouth breathing issues.

Symptoms of Mouth Breathing

If you do not have a partner to tell you that you are a mouth breather while you sleep, how else would you know? Luckily, there are several symptoms related to mouth breathing and, if you have any or most of them, you are likely a mouth breather.

Symptoms of mouth breathing include:

Mouth Breathing in Children

Mouth breathing in children can lead to a host of long-term complications such as an abnormal facial structure, overbite, poor performance in school, poor posture, and much more. Symptoms of mouth breathing in children include:

When is it OK to be Mouth Breathing?

If you catch yourself breathing through your mouth every now and again, there might not be a need to run immediately to a doctor. In some situations, mouth breathing is perfectly normal. Instances in which mouth breathing is OK include when you are sick and have nasal congestion due to a cold or allergies or during strenuous exercise.

However, if you frequently breathe through your mouth and do not have nasal congestion or are in the middle of strenuous activity, it is essential that you seek help.

Risk Factors for Mouth Breathing

Anybody can suffer from chronic mouth breathing. However, there are certain factors that can put you at greater risk. Sometimes, treating these underlying risk factors can be just the thing to help you with your mouth breathing. The risk factors for mouth breathing include:

What Are The Long Term Ill Effects Of Mouth Breathing?

There are many health issues associated with mouth breathing. If left untreated, they can lead to poor quality of life. It is surprising to know that something as simple as the way you breathe can lead to such serious health complications. However, if you are a mouth breather, you can likely look forward to these long-term issues:

Mouth Breathing Face Structure

As mentioned, one of the long-term effects of mouth breathing is physical abnormalities. It is one of the most surprising details regarding mouth breathing vs nasal breathing. Mouth breathing can cause structural changes to your face, especially if the mouth breathing begins as a child.

These craniofacial changes are the result of poor tongue and jaw resting posture. Over time, the muscles in the face will settle into the unnatural tongue and jaw resting place, causing these facial structure changes. With therapy, ongoing exercises, or even surgery in some cases, these changes can be reversed.

Tongue and Jaw Resting Posture

Correct natural tongue and jaw resting posture doesn’t just affect how your face looks. It can make all the difference in your quality of life, how you feel, and your ongoing health. The correct posture includes:

If you rest your tongue on the bottom of your mouth or up against your teeth, this is improper tongue positioning. Bad tongue positioning can lead to:

Can A Mouth Breather Become A Nose Breather?

The good news about mouth breathing is that it does not have to be permanent. A mouth breather can become a nose breather, and, depending on your situation, you can be treated for mouth breathing.

Treatment for mouth breathing includes:

Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional Therapy is a type of treatment to help disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. Since OMD’s are essentially muscle weaknesses of the face, performing strength exercises can help improve them. Much like exercises of any other part of the body, the more you do it, the stronger you will become. Through these exercises, the tongue will move into a more natural and normal resting posture which will help in many areas.

How To Stop Mouth Breathing While Sleeping At Night?

You can make some lifestyle changes to help stop or reduce mouth breathing while sleeping at night, especially when you are suffering from allergies or a cold. These include:

About Gorman Health and Wellness

If you or someone you love is a mouth breather and it is causing further health complications, there is something you can do about it. You do not need to live with the effects of mouth breathing any longer. Whether you suffer from craniofacial changes due to improper resting posture, TMJ issues, sleep apnea, or dental issues due to mouth breathing, we can help you.

Martin N. Gorman, D.D.S. is a highly trained practitioner with over 40 years of experience in dentistry. He specializes in the treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), sleep disorders, and epigenetic orthodontics. He believes all of his patients should have an opportunity to achieve optimal dental health in a safe, caring, anxiety-free environment. He is committed to patient comfort.

Come in and enjoy an expert dental consultation absolutely free of charge, done in a way that is easy for you to understand. You will be given as much time as you need to think about your procedure. In addition, you will receive a cost estimate so that you know what will be done and the cost involved for treatment that works, guaranteed. We focus on finding and treating the cause of your problem, not just relieving the symptoms, as we employ a holistic approach to treatment with customized individual treatment plans.

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