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Why Breathing Through Your Mouth Damages Your Health

Why Breathing Through Your Mouth Damages Your Health

  • 5 min read

You’ve heard the term “mouth breather” used to describe someone in an insulting manner, but did you know that breathing through your mouth is actually cause for concern when it comes to your health?

Breathing through your mouth forces the body to work harder than it needs to, damaging your health over time. We’ve rounded up a closer look explaining why -- starting with the fact that mouth breathing is overbreathing

Mouth Breathing = Overbreathing 

When it comes to oxygen exchange, you likely know that we breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. However, when breathing through the mouth, you expel far too much carbon dioxide than necessary. 

Breathing through the mouth forces us to take in and breathe out large amounts of air at a time. In comparison, the nose allows for small, steady inhalations and exhalations. 

The small and steady breathing that occurs when you breathe through your nose allows the proper amount of carbon dioxide to build up within the body before your next breath, which is more efficient for the lungs, blood, heart, and organs. 

The over-production of carbon dioxide created during mouth breathing creates an imbalance that acts like a chain reaction, making the body work overtime. This also leads to an abundance of mucus that causes congestion and even more mouth breathing. It’s a vicious cycle. 

The only solution is to breathe through the nose, which produces nitric oxide, a miracle molecule that enhances nearly every bodily process. 

Nitric oxide has been shown to:

  • Improve oxygenation
  • Fight bacteria, germs, and illness
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Boost endurance and performance
  • Take the body out of “fight or flight” and into “rest and recovery” mode 
  • Decrease the stress hormone cortisol

Seems pretty important, right? That’s not all. Breathing through the nose also allows the body to filter out harmful pathogens that the mouth does not. 

The Mouth Lacks Filtration

Do you wake up in the morning with an overly dry mouth or sore throat? If so, chances are that it’s due to your mouth falling open during sleep. 

When this happens, airborne particles fly right into your throat, down your airway, and into the lungs. That means a sore throat, increased risk of illness, and in severe cases, increased risk of pneumonia. 

When breathing through the nose, however, tiny nose hairs trap and filter out harmful particles that would otherwise wreak havoc on your immune system. 

The bronchial tubes and lungs also need lubrication to function properly, which the nose provides. 

Your nose adds moisture to the air you breathe and warms or cools the air as needed. When you breathe through the mouth, on the other hand, the air lacks the added humidity. 

That means that when you inhale in a cold environment through the mouth, the harsh and cold air heads straight for your lungs with no temperature control. The same can be said for overly hot environments. 

Put simply, the nose acts as the body’s natural air conditioner with a built-in power filter, and you’re making yourself sick when you don’t use it. 

Mouth breathing also causes an unnatural jaw placement and tongue posture over time, which may alter the shape of your face. 

Unnatural Jaw Placement and Tongue Posture

When breathing through the mouth, the muscles within the cheeks and face are placed in an unnatural position that puts unnecessary pressure on your jaw. 

The more you breathe in this manner, the more narrow the face and upper palate become. Over time, the tongue will rest on the bottom of the mouth instead of the roof of the mouth. 

This is an unnatural tongue posture that weakens the muscles around the airway and changes the development of the face and teeth over time. 

Snoring, sleep apnea, teeth grinding, underbites, overbites, and other harmful airway and dental conditions are the result of improper tongue positioning and stressful jaw placement that are tied to mouth breathing. 

So what is the proper tongue posture? With proper tongue positioning, the tongue should rest on the roof of the mouth, slightly behind the teeth. The lips should remain sealed with the teeth slightly parted. 

This is commonly referred to as mewing. Over time, the practice of proper tongue posture can boost sleep quality, improve neck and jaw pain, reduce headaches and tension, and more.  

@somnifix

How to perfect your #mew 👅 #mewing #biohacking #learnontiktok #nasalbreathing #breathwork via @faceyogabykari

♬ A-O-K - Tai Verdes

Proper tongue posture also protects the teeth from deterioration. When the lips remain sealed, saliva within the mouth can do its job by coating the teeth from cavity-causing bacteria. 

With an improper tongue posture and lack of a lip seal, the saliva evaporates, leaving the teeth defenseless. Over time, this causes cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease. 

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the way you breathe can even harm your sleep quality. 

Poor Sleep Quality and Snoring

If you’ve learned anything so far, it’s that how you breathe matters. But it’s not just how you breathe during the day that impacts your health; it’s how you breathe at night. 

Breathing through the mouth during sleep causes snoring, which can interrupt both you and your partner’s sleep. 

Snoring happens due to blockages of the airway and the muscles within the throat. Mouth breathing encourages these blockages by pushing tissues within the airway backward. 

When air can’t freely flow through the airway and into the lungs, the tissues vibrate together, creating the horrific sound of snoring. 

Snoring lowers sleep quality and may lead to irritability, drowsiness, and lack of focus during waking hours. 

The easiest way to boost sleep quality and prevent snoring is to sleep with your mouth closed and maintain a proper lip seal throughout the night. 

You’re probably thinking, “how can I make sure my mouth stays closed if I’m asleep?” The answer lies in a revolutionary health tool that you’ve probably never heard of: mouth tape. 

Mouth Tape: A Shield That Protects Your Health

Mouth tape works in the same way its name sounds: you use it to physically tape the lips sealed to promote nasal breathing. 

When the lips remain shut, mouth breathing remains impossible as you sleep. SomniFix Mouth Strips are hypoallergenic, latex-free, and feature a soft, gel-like material that’s so comfortable you’ll forget there’s anything even on your lips at all. 

With our strips, you’ll maintain proper tongue posture, prevent mouth breathing, and nasal breathe into the night. Best of all, you’ll experience no snoring or dry mouth!

Begin taping your way to improved health tonight!

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