All About Mouth-Breathing

Why do some people primarily breathe out of their mouth rather than out of their nose? There’re a variety of different reasons why some people breathe this way, but the most common reason is due to an obstruction in the nasal passages. Breathing air in through the nose normally allows the air to become moistened and warm before entering the lungs. However, when an individual is unable to breathe through their nose, they are forced to take in cool and dry air through the mouth. Some of the most common reasons for mouth breathing include:


  • Nasal obstructions or congestion
  • Asthma
  • Unrealized habits
  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Allergies
  • Respiratory infections


Effects of Mouth-Breathing


Some may ask, what’s the harm in mouth breathing? Believe it or not, there are a variety of health issues that can arise from breathing out of your mouth. The biggest cause for concern is that it keeps your mouth dry. With an overly-dry mouth, your saliva production is not able to produce the extra amount required to keep it properly moist. Without enough saliva being produced to dampen the mouth, there is a higher chance of cavities, decay, and bad breath.


Many people, especially children, tend to mouth-breath without even realizing it. This type of unrealized habit can impact your overall posture over time. Normal breathing allows your body to remain relaxed, but as you breathe with your mouth open, your overall posture is forced to change. This ensures that your body has done its part to keep your airway open to provide it with the oxygen needed for survival. The more you continuously breathe through your mouth, the more your posture will deteriorate, which could lead to more serious skeletal issues in the future.


Inflamed gums is another effect of extended periods of mouth-breathing. The area most effected is the gingival tissue around your upper front teeth. Continued exposure of your teeth while breathing can cause redness, swelling and a rolled-up appearance of your gums that can cause you grief. You may also experience pain or tenderness associated along the gum line.


Mouth-Breathing Relief


It’s important to first consult your doctor or dentist in order to properly identify the underlying cause of your mouth-breathing. Remain mindful about your breathing style and technique. It can be hard to concentrate on something that comes naturally, but if you are suffering from any of the above-mentioned side-effects, it is an important issue to address. If you are finding it difficult to keep your mouth closed, try incorporating counting into your routine. Count to four as you inhale through your nose, and count again as you exhale from your mouth. Eventually, the counting will become less necessary for normal breathing as you develop the habit of breathing through your nose.


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For more information about mouth-breathing, schedule an appointment at your local Tendercare office! With eight convenient locations around Portland, you’re guaranteed to receive the individual care you deserve close to home.