Do You Breathe Through Your Nose or Your Mouth?
Do you wake in the morning and realize that your mouth always seems dry? Or maybe you wake and feel more tired than usual. The culprit could be your breathing. Breathing not only provides your body with the oxygen it needs to survive, it also allows you to release carbon dioxide and waste. You have two air passageways to your lungs—the nose and mouth. Healthy people use both airways to breathe. So, what can it mean if you are only breathing one way? Read on to find out.
Breathing through the mouth only becomes necessary when you have nasal congestion due to allergies, a cold, or when exercising strenuously. Breathing through the mouth all the time, including when you’re sleeping, can lead to problems. As an adult, mouth breathing can cause fatigue, decreased productivity, and a poorer quality of life. More importantly, it can lead to tremendous dental problems, such as:
- Bad breath – from bacteria caused by extreme dryness
- Dry mouth – when the salivary glands are not producing enough saliva to keep your mouth wet
- Tooth decay – bacteria that remains on teeth from lack of saliva can turn to decay, which leads to cavities
- Sleep apnea – caused by a blockage in the upper airway while sleeping and is when breathing repeatedly starts and stops
- Misaligned teeth – if you have a crossbite or underbite, which can alter face growth
Children can also suffer from mouth breathing. Mouth breathing can change the appearance of a child’s face shape and the position of their jaw. A long narrow face shape is common for mouth-breathing children. They are also prone to regressed cheekbones and a lower jaw and chin. Their smiles can appear gummy, and they can suffer from crooked teeth. Sleep issues are also common, which can lead to fatigue and headaches.
Depending on the cause, treatment for mouth breathing varies. Treatment can range from anything as mild as trying a nasal decongestant to something as involved as orthodontist treatment or jaw repositioning appliances.
If you feel that you or a family member are suffering from the effects of mouth breathing, please call our Kewaskum office today, and we’ll be happy to schedule you for an appointment or consultation.