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Why Mouth Breathing Prevention is Important

Why Mouth Breathing Prevention is Important

  • 5 min read

We all have a routine that supports our health in one way or another. 

We brush our teeth to keep our mouths healthy, drink water, wash our hands, take vitamins and supplements, and the list goes on and on. 

Within that routine, you may be missing something. We all tend to overlook our breath and its connection to how we feel mentally and physically. 

But the truth is, breathing through the mouth is known to cause damage to our bodies and minds while breathing through the nose helps us function optimally. 

That’s why understanding why and how to prevent mouth breathing is so crucial. 

Optimizing Health: The Nose Knows

Have you ever had a stuffy nose from a bad cold? When ill, you likely wish you hadn’t taken the ability to breathe in and out of your nose for granted when you were healthy. 

Dealing with congestion gets in the way of everyday activities. You may feel you can’t speak properly, and most challenging of all, your ability to sleep well is compromised. 

Some people breathe through the mouth out of habit, even when not congested. This has serious consequences, which we’ll get into later on. 

First, let’s discover why nasal breathing has such a positive impact on our bodies.

To start, the nose produces nitric oxide, a miracle molecule that helps the body optimize many functions, such as:

  • Oxygen absorption and transportation
  • Improved immunity
  • Blood pressure control
  • Improvement of memory and cognitive function
  • Decreased depression and anxiety
  • Boosted performance and recovery

Nitric oxide takes the body out of fight or flight mode by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for helping our bodies rest, digest, and decrease stress. 

Beyond nitric oxide, the nose also adds resistance to our breath since the stream of air taken in through the nose is smaller than the amount we take in through the mouth. 

This process sounds like it would inhibit oxygenation, but it actually improves the elasticity of the lungs through a process called “the Bohr effect.”

As less oxygen enters the bloodstream, carbon dioxide builds up. Then, the transfer of oxygen into the bloodstream occurs more efficiently since the body is not overwhelmed by an abundance of air. 

The nose also acts as nature’s air filter by filtering out pathogens and bacteria in the air we breathe. On top of that, the nose controls the temperature of our breath by warming and humidifying the air. 

The mouth doesn’t offer these same benefits, which is why it’s so dangerous.  

Adverse Effects of Mouth Breathing

Breathing through the mouth is extremely drying. As a result, saliva evaporates. 

Saliva plays an important role in protecting our oral health. It coats the teeth and provides a protective barrier from bacteria and germs, preventing plaque. 

When this protective layer repeatedly evaporates due to mouth breathing, the teeth are left defenseless. This increases the risk for cavities, gum diseases, and chronic bad breath. 

Additionally, the risk of throat and ear infections is higher for chronic mouth breathers. 

Since mouth breathing isover-breathing, it leads to a low concentration of oxygen within the blood. High blood pressure and, in extreme cases, heart failure can follow. 

Headaches and digestive upset are also a symptom of chronic mouth breathing. Overall, the risks are even more cause for concern in children. 

In people who began mouth breathing as children, facial abnormalities and cognitive issues are common. Untreated mouth breathing in children causes:

  • Narrow mouths
  • Long, narrow facial shape
  • Jaw misalignment
  • Poor posture
  • Trouble concentrating

This is why it’s so important to prevent mouth breathing from an early age. 

Child or adult, mouth breathing is harmful to sleep patterns, since it leads to snoring, fragmented sleep, and sleep disorders. 

Mouth Breathing Destroys Sleep Quality

James Nestor, author of “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art,” tested how mouth breathing affected his sleep patterns with the help of Stanford University scientists. 

Researchers blocked Nestor’s nostrils with silicone to measure exactly how mouth breathing affected his body. The findings were staggering. 

He went from snoring for only a few minutes each night normally to snoring for up to four hoursduring sleep while mouth breathing. 

The forced mouth breathing caused him to develop obstructive sleep apnea, as well as a noticeable mental fog that challenged his concentration. 

Nestor’s stress levels were off the charts, and his nervous system showed huge signs of dysfunction. 

His blood pressure rose by 13 points while mouth breathing in comparison to nasal breathing, placing him into the category of stage one hypertension. 

If you want to prevent the adverse health risks Nestor faced, you have to learn how to prevent mouth breathing in your daily life. 

How to Prevent Mouth Breathing

If you’re a habitual mouth breather, making the switch to nasal breathing may be a challenge. Thankfully, many tools and practices may help you learn how to prevent mouth breathing. 

Practice nasal breathing by setting alarms to check in with your breathing every few hours. Certain breathing exercises can also help you decongest, such as Buteyko breathing

Saline sprays, decongestants, and a humidifier may also help keep your nose free and clear. 

Once you’ve decongested, try “alternate nostril breathing” to focus on inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils. 

To practice this exercise, begin by breathing normally. Then, inhale through the nose and take a finger and close one nostril. 

Exhale through the open nostril, then close it and inhale through the opposing nostril. Repeat up to ten times.

 

@somnifix Feeling #stressed❔Try this #alternatenostrilbreathing exercise anywhere, anytime! #breathingexercises #destress #wellnesstips #learnontiktok #anxiety via @Louise Parker, MSc ♬ Infinity - Jaymes Young

Work on achieving a proper tongue posture, which also promotes nasal breathing. Proper tongue posture consists of placing the back, middle, and tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth, just behind the teeth. 

Teeth should remain slightly parted, with the lips sealed. The tongue is a muscle. Just like any muscle, it weakens when not used properly. 

Tongue strengthening exercises may help you improve tongue strength. However, some people may need myofunctional therapy to correct abnormal tongue position. 

This practice is completed by trained professionals who use a combination of physical therapy, breathing, and facial posture exercises to improve the bite, tongue placement, and oral posture. 

You might be wondering what you can do to maintain all of your hard work to make the switch to nasal breathing as you sleep. 

Mouth tape is useful for maintaining a proper lip seal during sleep, making mouth breathing virtually impossible. 

Aside from promoting nasal breathing, benefits of mouth taping include improved sleep quality, snoring prevention, and improved CPAP therapy for sleep apnea sufferers.

In turn, you’ll nasal breathe through the night, maintain all of the health benefits that breathing through the nose has to offer, and experience the quality sleep you need to feel refreshed and renewed. 

Use SomniFix to Prevent Mouth Breathing During Sleep

Practicing nasal breathing during the day is achievable with nasal breathing exercises, multiple check-ins, and keeping congestion under control. 

At night, you can’t pay the same attention to the way you breathe. Mouth tape ensures that you nasal breathe into the night without any added effort. 

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