What are the Common Causes and Harms of Mouth Breathing?
As the experts explain, it’s natural to breathe through your nose, and doing so helps warm and filter the air before it reaches your lungs. However, some people may find that they often breathe through their mouths during the day or while sleeping. Since mouth breathing isn’t as beneficial as nose breathing, you may wonder if mouth breathing is bad.
Common Causes of Mouth Breathing
As experts point out, while it’s normal to breathe through your nose, if your nose is stuffy, you can unconsciously breathe through your mouth. There are many possible reasons why blocked nasal passages can make it difficult to breathe through your nose.
Experts state that certain illnesses, such as the common cold, flu or sinus infections, can cause nasal congestion. Additionally, a nasal reaction to an allergen or irritant, such as pollen or pollution, can cause a stuffy nose. Growths in the lining of the nose, called nasal polyps, can also block airflow through the nose.
Enlarged tissue at the back of the nose can sometimes cause nasal congestion in children, or even young children can block their own noses by accidentally inserting beads or other foreign objects into their nostrils.
How Does Oral Respiration Affect Oral Health?
If you regularly breathe through your mouth, you may notice that your mouth feels dry. This dryness can be uncomfortable, but moreover, it can lead to oral health complications. The Turkish Dental Association reports that dry mouth can cause bad breath. In addition, she warns that another potential complication of dry mouth is tooth decay, because without the saliva available to wash away bacteria from the teeth, plaque can build up and disrupt tooth structure.
Children who frequently breathe through their mouth may experience other oral health complications such as malocclusion. This means that their upper and lower teeth are not aligned properly, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In a study published in the International Journal of Oral Health, researchers found that compared to children who breathe through the nose, children who breathe through the mouth are more likely to have anterior teeth that curve forward. It’s not just a cosmetic concern, either. As experts point out, malocclusion can cause difficulties when speaking, biting or chewing.
When children breathe through their mouths, constant exposure to air can dry out their gums and lead to inflammation. The gums of children with this condition may be red, swollen, and the gums may partially cover the teeth.
Oral Respiratory and Treatments for Related Problems
You should see your dentist or doctor for an evaluation to learn how to breathe through the nose instead of the mouth. Treatment for mouth breathing will vary depending on the exact cause. Child Health experts report that some possible treatments include nasal rinses, nasal sprays, oral medications, or surgery.
In addition, you may need treatment for oral complications caused by mouth breathing. Experts report that to treat dry mouth, dentists may recommend sugar-free gum, artificial saliva, or mouthwashes. According to experts, braces may be recommended for people with misaligned teeth, and in some cases, clear aligners may be an option. Nasal breathing and improving oral hygiene may be all it takes to treat mouth-breathing gingivitis, but in severe cases, dentists may recommend surgery, as the textbook Oral Pathology in the Pediatric Patient explains. You can talk to your dentist to learn more about treatments that may be available to you.
Mouth breathing on a regular basis is not optimal and can cause a host of oral health complications. If you think you are mouth breathing, seek advice from your dentist or doctor.