Mouth breathing: the unexpected threat to a high-quality life. It can cause cavities, tooth decay, and an increase in your stress levels. Not to mention bad breath, a hoarse-sounding voice, or even changes in your speech! Those who mouth breathe have a higher risk for developing a lisp, which occurs when someone has a more difficult time than usual pronouncing the letter “S.”
Why Achieving Nasal Breathing is So Vital
Nose breathing rather than mouth breathing can help improve your quality of life and even your mental health. It helps to lubricate the nostrils, keep the sinuses moisturized, prevent chronic lung issues such as asthma, and more. Nitric oxide, which is produced during nasal breathing, boosts oxygen levels in the blood, brain function, and even heart health. Better yet, it can help to decrease your chances of snoring at night, which is great news for both you and your partner. So how do you actually train yourself to breathe through the nose instead of the mouth?
Well, the good news is that just as mouth breathing leads to more mouth breathing, nose breathing leads to more nose breathing. So by training yourself to nose breathe while you sleep, you can actually improve your ability to nose breathe during the day. Thankfully, there are several physical aids that can help you achieve your nasal breathing goals.
External Nasal Dilators (Breathing Strips)
There are two different types of nasal dilators on the market: dilators that work to open nasal passageways from the inside of the nose and those that work on the outside. Nasal dilators, whether internal or external, work by allowing air to enter the nose, pass down through the throat, and into the lungs. But obstructions in the nasal cavity like congestion due to illness, allergies, or nasal polyps can block air from passing through.
External nasal dilators like breathing strips are some of the most popular tools on the market for reducing snoring and promoting nasal breathing. One of the most well-known brands of breathing strips is Breathe Right nasal strips, but there are many other manufacturers out there. The strips are made of a flexible, somewhat thick material designed to work like somewhat of a spring. The bottom side of the strip is made of an adhesive material that sticks to the nose.
Once adhered to the nose, the strip attempts to straighten back out. This action pulls open the side of the nose and can help to keep your nasal passageways from closing. These may be the best nasal dilators for those with a deviated septum since they don’t actually enter the nasal cavity. While research does show that breathing strips may reduce snoring, they aren’t effective in helping those who suffer from sleep apnea. It’s also still possible to mouth breathe while wearing a nasal dilator, since nothing actually prevents your mouth from opening.
Internal Nasal Dilators
External nasal dilators work to open nasal passages by pushing them apart into an open position. Internal nasal dilators, on the other hand, do all of the heavy lifting from the inside of your nose. They are usually made of plastic and two nostril pieces typically connect together in the center. Once you insert the dilator inside of the nose, the material forces itself outwards, working to expand your nostrils from the inside by pushing the cartilage out. There are some risks to consider with these, like inhalation up into the nasal cavity (depending on the model.) Some can even break into smaller pieces inside of the nose if the material becomes weakened over time. These risk factors mean that an internal nasal dilator isn’t the best nasal dilator for a deviated septum. And again, internal dilators can’t ensure that you don’t breathe through the mouth while using them since they don’t do anything to keep your mouth closed.
If you have sleep apnea, you’re no stranger to mouth breathing while you’re asleep. Even if you put a focus on nasal breathing while you’re awake, you need something to help you maintain your efforts at night. In those with sleep apnea, the soft tissue in the throat collapses and creates a blockage. This blockage sends signals to your breathing muscles that cause you to mouth breathe.
More men have the condition than women, and you’re more likely to have it if you have a history of smoking, being overweight, have a nasal obstruction, or are over forty. If you have a history of sleep apnea in your family, you’re more likely to struggle with it than those who don’t. If you suspect you have sleep apnea but aren’t sure, consult your doctor and request a sleep study. If you know you have it, use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night to make sure that your passageways stay open to prevent snoring and improve your sleep quality. That way, all of your hard work to breathe correctly during the day isn’t wasted by a wide-open mouth during sleep. It’s still possible to mouth breathe while wearing a CPAP machine, though, so it’s important to consider an additional physical aid such as mouth tape.
Mouth tape, or “mouth strips,” are like the opposite of nasal strips: rather than working to pull nasal passageways apart while leaving the mouth at risk of falling open, mouth strips work to tape the mouth shut. This helps you to train your body to use the nose instead, since it’s the only option. This can naturally reduce congestion in the nasal cavity. Mouth taping helps to reduce your chances of waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat. When used in combination with a CPAP machine, you’re sure to maintain nasal breathing necessary for achieving good sleep hygiene. You can even use mouth tape during the day when exercising for an added boost of nitric oxide to your workout. This can help reduce recovery time and boost endurance.
Mouth taping during sleep is the ultimate way to train your body to nose breathe more often.
Where to Get Mouth Tape
When it comes to mouth taping, you can’t just use any old tape. Regular tapes can cause irritation, discomfort, itchiness, and even lip damage. That’s why it’s paramount to use a specially designed mouth tape such as SomniFix Strips. SomniFix Strips feature a gel-like, skin-safe adhesive for comfort during use. They remove with ease and without pain, and you won’t have to worry about irritating your skin during your nasal breathing journey. Plus, they feature a breathing vent so that you can breathe through your mouth if necessary during the night. Try SomniFix Strips tonight, train your body to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth, and reap the benefits!
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