Our bodies manage many automatic processes that keep us alive and functioning without us ever giving them a second thought. Breathing, for example, isn’t something that most of us dwell on.
Most of us breathe in and out without having to be very mindful of it. However, giving your breath some extra attention may actually be the key to improved physical and mental health.
If you breathe through your mouth, you’re placing your body in overdrive. Breathing through the nose, however, allows for efficient oxygen delivery, helping the body and mind to function with less resistance.
Before we dive into all of the benefits associated with nasal breathing, let’s first discuss why mouth breathing is so harmful. For starters, the mouth was designed for eating, talking, and drinking – not breathing.
What Is The Problem With Mouth Breathing?
Breathing in and out of your mouth may not sound very serious. You’re likely wondering, “what is the problem with mouth breathing, anyway?’
One of the largest issues associated with habitually breathing through the mouth is that it causes us to over breathe.
Mouth-breathers exhale too much carbon dioxide, which lowers the CO2 levels throughout the body. As a result, it doesn’t have a chance to build up before it’s released, causing poor oxygenation.
Aside from poor oxygen exchange, mouth breathing also leads to problems with jaw alignment. When the mouth is consistently open, the lower jaw may grow down and back.
This keeps the tongue from achieving a proper posture, which should ideally consist of the tongue placed on the roof of the mouth just behind the teeth.
When you breathe through your mouth chronically, the tongue can’t rest in the correct position, allowing the palate to narrow and constrict.
As the palate narrows, the risk for teeth grinding, cavities, and gum disease all increase. This is because mouth breathing dries out saliva, which normally coats the teeth in a protective layer from germs and bacteria.
Since mouth breathing forces an unnatural tongue posture, dysfunctional swallowing is also possible, which may lead to acid reflux.
Beyond that, mouth breathing causes snoring. As we mouth breathe at night, the tissues within the airway fall backward. These tissues then vibrate together, creating the sound of snoring we all know and hate.
Believe it or not, we didn’t always have a tendency to mouth breathe or snore. It’s our modern diets that are largely responsible for many breathing disorders.
Chronic Mouth Breathing: How Did We Get Here?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is the problem with mouth breathing?” we can take a closer look at the history responsible for our respiratory challenges.
Humans are the only mammals that consistently face jaw misalignments, overbites, underbites, and a large amount of routine dental challenges.
The changes in our jaw are largely responsible for the modern mouth breathing epidemic. But why is this happening? The short answer is evolution.
Evolution doesn’t always include changes for the better. The ancient diet consisted of food that required much more chewing than the foods we now regularly eat.
Since ancient humans chewed so much, the muscles in and around their mouths and airways were strong, wide, and pronounced.
As society has advanced, we’ve adopted more cooked, soft, and calorie-rich diets. Nowadays, we chew less and less, neglecting these muscles.
As a result, our brains grew and our airways shrank. Cavities, crooked teeth, obstructed airways, snoring, and poor health followed.
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that nasal obstruction, allergies, and other respiratory conditions make it even more difficult to breathe through the nose instead of the mouth.
But the more you mouth breathe, the worse nasal congestion becomes, worsening mouth breathing. That’s why it’s so important to make the switch from mouth breathing to nasal breathing.
How Do We Fix It?
Nasal breathing offers benefits that mouth breathing doesn’t.
Our noses were designed to help us smell our environment and breathe in the oxygen we need to function efficiently.
The nose produces a molecule called nitric oxide within the paranasal sinuses. This molecule is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal.
Nitric oxide produced by the nose cleans, filters, and humidifies the air, with the help of small nose hairs called cilia. The mouth doesn’t offer this same defense: all of the air we breathe in through the mouth is unfiltered, not humidified, and free from temperature control.
Aside from nitric oxide production, the nose offers a balance that the mouth can’t. According to “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor, the right nostril acts as the “gas” while the left nostril acts as the “brake.”
For this reason, yoga dedicates many practices to breathing through the nose, including alternate nostril breathing.
The left nostril is more deeply intertwined with the parasympathetic nervous system, which takes the body out of “fight or flight” and lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and calms us down overall.
The nose offers a balance between action and relaxation that the mouth can’t. Our nasal cycle is a built-in regulator to help the body stay in equilibrium rather than pushing hard with no relief.
Research proves this in action. Nitric oxide and the balance associated with nasal breathing causes an increase of oxygen absorption of around 18 percentwhen compared to mouth breathing.
Switching from mouth breathing to nasal breathing may require practice at first, but over time, it will become an automatic process. As a result, you’ll reap all of the benefits of nasal breathing.
At night, sleep with your mouth taped shut to continue nasal breathing while you rest.
Sleep With Your Mouth Taped Shut
Now that you understand the main problems associated with mouth breathing, you can avoid it and work toward nasal breathing instead.
You don’t want to undo all of the practice you’ve done during the day as you sleep, though. That’s where sleeping with your mouth taped shut is beneficial.
To gain top-tier protection from snoring and mouth breathing, you’ll need to sleep with mouth tape over your lips. We aren’t joking! Sleeping with your mouth taped shut makes it virtually impossible to snore or breathe through your mouth while you rest.
And we’ve designed strips that were made with all skin types in mind. They’re hypoallergenic and free of both latex and gluten, making them the perfect choice for those with even the most sensitive of skin.
SomniFix Mouth Strips are the best nasal breathing sleep aid on the market. Pop on a strip and say goodnight to mouth breathing for good!
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