Breathing gives our body the oxygen it requires for functioning. It also enables the emission of carbon dioxide. The mouth and nose are the two air routes to our lungs.
Healthy individuals use both of these routes for breathing. If people have congestion in the nasal tract because of allergy or respiratory sickness, they start breathing through their mouth.
Mouth breathing can also increase the flow of oxygen to your muscles while you are training vigorously.
Your dentist in Chandler might tell you that breathing through the mouth can negatively impact your oral health. Unfortunately, mouth-breathing harms not only our teeth but also our overall health. Breathing via the mouth frequently, especially while sleeping, might cause issues. Mouth breathing in kids can result in gingivitis, bad teeth, facial abnormalities, and poor development. Excessive mouth breathing in grownups can lead to poor breath and gum diseases. Mouth breathing is also associated with sleep apnea.
Here are some of the Harmful Consequences of Mouth Breathing
Saliva is diminished from the mouth if one is breathing through the mouth due to evaporation. Your saliva plays an incredibly essential function: it moistens and breaks down food when chewing, allowing it to be absorbed more readily. Additionally, saliva contains antibodies which become the first line of defense from harmful bacteria entering the oral cavity. Saliva effectively protects our gums and teeth by reducing the bacteria-laden plaque acids generated by eating.
With the lack of sufficient saliva, the mouth may become a haven for germs and acids. Those acids and microorganisms can dissolve the teeth’ protective layer, accelerating tooth decay and possibly gum problems. Mouth breathing, especially when sleeping, is a primary cause of dry mouth (xerostomia).
Another unintended consequence of mouth breathing is the development of a foul odor. If people breathe through their mouths, it dries out their saliva. Because there’s not enough saliva, the mouth’s auto-clean function is compromised. Bacterial and bad-smelling metabolites in the mouth might multiply, resulting in an acidic taste and smell. Bacteria multiply and settle on the tongue, teeth, and gums. This deposition emits a terrible smell when it decomposes. Breathing through the mouth might have the following repercussions:
- Prolonged breathing through the mouth can cause foul breath known as halitosis.
- Can Be Harmful to the Jaw
- It can induce changes in jaw posture, which eventually strains the jaw muscle, resulting in teeth grinding, TMJ discomfort, and dental misalignment.
- Can be a risk factor for the development of sleep apnea
What are the causes of Mouth Breathing?
Fundamentally, mouth breathing occurs because of a congested (full or partial closed) nasal airway. Something is obstructing the normal flow of air into the nasal tract. If your nose is stuffy, your body will instinctively turn to the only alternative source of oxygen – the mouth.
A variety of factors can cause a congested nose. These are some examples:
- Nasal obstruction triggered by allergies, respiratory infection , or a clogged nose
- Swollen adenoids
- Inflamed tonsils
- Misaligned septum
- Sinus polyps, or innocuous overgrowth of tissues in the walls of the nose
- Expanded turbinates
- Nose structure
- Jaw form and size
- Tumors (rare)
Mouth breathing often occurs as a sign of significant underlying diseases, such as:
Obstructive sleep apnea and septum deviation.
Sleep apnea is a terrible condition. Persistent sleep apnea can raise the risk of diabetes, hypertension, depression, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and arrhythmia.
This is because sleep apnea induces frequent pauses in breathing all through the night. If an individual stops inhaling, the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream reduces. Hypoxemia occurs when there is a lack of oxygen for a substantial amount of time. Rapid decreases in oxygen saturation place strain on the heart and lungs, increasing the risk of heart attack or recurring heart attacks over time. It can also induce abnormal heart rhythms and increase insulin sensitivity in the system.
One likely cause of mouth breathing is an obstructed nasal cavity. Respiratory infections, asthma, and ordinary colds can produce brief nasal channel obstructions that resolve within a week or two.
A chronic ailment triggers persistent nasal congestion, such as a misaligned septum, nasal polyps, swollen turbinates, or swollen adenoids.
If you’ve had mouth breathing and persistent nasal blockage for any more than a month, you should visit a doctor.
Even when the nasal blockage has cleared, some individuals develop a tendency to breathe through the mouth. To fulfill their oxygen demand, some persons with sleep apnea may develop the habit of sleeping with the mouth open. Emotional stress can sometimes drive a person to breathe via their mouth rather than their nose.
Mouth Breathing Treatments
Are you afraid that breathing through the mouth has caused more dental problems? If you have a habit or disease that promotes mouth breathing, you must get treatment as soon as possible. During a routine dental checkup, your dentist in Chandler may detect the symptoms of mouth breathing. They might refer you to an ENT expert to further determine the reason for your mouth breathing.
- Specialized pillows, night mouth guards, sleeping nose strips, and devices to address sleep apnea are frequent therapies.
- If an illness is not inducing mouth breathing in your case, you might have to train yourself to breath only through the nose.
The treatments for mouth breathing depend upon the underlying reason. An Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) expert frequently addresses issues with the tonsils, adenoids, or sinuses. In conditions where the mandibular (jaw bone and palate) has grown unusually narrow because of mouth breathing, the experts at Peace of Mind Dental Studio in Chandler, AZ, may use a palatal expander to broaden the jaw gradually. The latter therapy may also affect airway size, making it simpler to breathe via the nose.
Most of these therapies are quite effective when administered early in a child’s development. So, if you want to avoid unnecessary problems with your face structure and general oral health, you should consult a dentist in Chandler, AZ, as early as possible.