Mouth breathing is a bad habit that many people around the world of all ages share. And the habit is unfortunately hard to break. But the truth is, mouth breathing is extremely unhealthy for the mind and body. It has also changed the shape of our mouths over time for the worse. Since humans eat a softer diet than we were designed to consume, our skulls have shrunk. Food requires less chewing than it used to and the bones and muscles in our jaws are not properly stimulated by the action of chewing. The roof of the mouth has become more narrow than it was originally designed to be, so a proper tongue posture is harder to maintain. Allergies and food sensitivities cause congestion more often than in the past due to this narrow shape and unnatural mouth posture. Our jaws are also smaller and sit further back than they used to, taking up precious airway space. We become congested easier now than ever before. As a response, our mouths open to get air quickly into the body since there is less resistance.
Three words: Close. Your. Mouth.
This not only bypasses all of the wonderful perks and benefits of breathing through the nose, but it can actually cause more harm than good, too. Mouth breathing causes dry mouth since it dries out the teeth, gums, and tongue. Saliva disappears, which is a wonderful defence against harmful cavity-causing bacteria. Dry mouth leads to bad breath, tooth decay, and poor overall oral health. Mouth breathing can even cause a lack of energy since less oxygen is delivered to the lungs by breathing through the mouth. This means poor sleep and lowered focus and productivity. But in the long term, mouth breathing can cause an unnatural facial structure in children. Due to the unnatural posture, it causes the bones of the face to develop incorrectly. This causes flat features, a narrow jaw, and roof of the mouth, a small chin, and even drooping eyes. Mouth breathing also leads to sleep apnea, heart problems, and snoring. To avoid a slew of health problems, close your mouth, and breathe through your nose.
Why Nasal Breathing is Superior
Since nasal breathing causes more resistance in the airflow due to the small size of the nostrils, the air is kept inside of the lungs for a longer period of time. This helps absorption and can increase the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream by as much as twenty percent. The nasal passageways help to warm the air you breathe and add moisture to it, making it easier for your body to absorb. When you breathe in through the nose, the temperature of the air can increase by as much as forty degrees Fahrenheit by the time it reaches the lungs! This makes nasal breathing extremely effective for managing body temperature in cold conditions. Nasal breathing also reduces your chances of snoring during sleep and developing sleep apnea, all while improving sleep quality. This is why it’s important to learn how to stop sleeping with your mouth open.
Nasal breathing can even aid in weight loss since we exhale fat as it is burned. Nasal breathing causes your body to use more oxygen than mouth breathing, which translates into more fat burned. Nasal breathing during exercise has been shown to improve the performance of your workout. And believe it or not, it can even help keep you from getting sick! Germs, irritants, and harmful bacteria are also removed with each breath you take in through the nose. This is thanks to nitric oxide, which is released during nasal breathing.
Nitric Oxide 101
Nitric oxide occurs naturally in the body and gets into the bloodstream through two methods: via nutrient-rich foods and by nasal breathing. Your body’s ability to produce it lessens as you age, so it’s important to become aware of your breathing early on so that you can get a grip on proper nasal breathing.
Mouth breathing, which causes a decrease in nitric oxide, leads to poor heart function, increased blood pressure, lowered cognitive function, poor immunity, and a higher rate of chronic inflammation throughout the body.
Nitric oxide produced through nasal breathing not only improves heart function, blood pressure, immunity, cognitive function, and decrease inflammation, but also helps improve your performance during a workout, aids in weight loss, improves digestion, decreases anxiety and depression, and decreases neuropathic pain. It has even been shown to help treat erectile dysfunction. In 1998, American researchers found that nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels throughout the body. This eventually leads to the production of Viagra, which is a nitric oxide-based vasodilator drug. Since nasal breathing leads to the promotion of nitric oxide, it can be thought of as nature’s Viagra. It can improve your sexual performance by reducing stress, balancing hormones, regulating stress responses in the body, and boosting circulation. Breathe through the nose rather than the mouth during the day to boost sexual function and your overall health and wellbeing.
You Snooze, You Win!
Nitric oxide is massively beneficial to the body and mind. But to reap all of the benefits, you have to know how to stop sleeping with your mouth open. You can focus on nasal breathing all day long, but it’s possible that you’ll fall back into old habits as soon as you’re asleep and unconscious. The mouth is vulnerable to falling open during sleep, leading to mouth breathing, snoring, and other harmful health problems. Mouth taping at night helps you avoid this. The saying “you snooze you lose” isn’t necessarily true when it comes to nasal breathing! Pop a hypoallergenic strip on before it’s lights out and reap the benefits of nitric oxide even as you snooze.
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