Chapter 11 – Mouth breathing

What is mouth breathing ?

Mouth breathing is a habit where people breathe in through their mouth instead of their nose. This can occur in both children and in adults. Sometimes blocked nose due to cold can cause mouth breathing temporarily but resolves on its own. The reason for breathing through the mouth will be mostly because of easier pathway to breathe due to lack of resistance. There are other serious issues can cause mouth breathing which we will discuss in detail.

Why does mouth breathing happen ?

The mouth breathing can happen because of three reasons :

  • Obstruction – Due to blockage or resistance in the Nasal pathway, Nasal polyps, Enlarged adenoids and tonsils. 
  • Habitual – Some people developed a pattern to breath through mouth habitually
  • Anatomical – Due to change in the structure of the facial features. Deviated nasal septum , poor tongue function, tongue tie, short upper lip, abnormal nasal pathway

Why should you breathe through your nose?

The nose is made for the intake of air into the lungs. 

  • Moistens the inhaled air – The air gets moistened and warmed to body temperature which prevents the damage to the nasal pathway and lungs. 
  • Acts as filter – Nasal pathway has tiny hairs and specialised skin lining which secretes mucus . These structures trap dust particles,allergens( Pollen) and germs ( Bacteria .Fungus ) and prevents them from going in to the lungs. When you breathe through your mouth, you bypass all of these filters. 
  • Release of Nitric Oxide – The nitric oxide gets produced in paranasal sinuses and nasal breathing helps the transfer of it to lungs. The nitric oxide acts as pulmonary vasodilator, i.e., it expands the blood vessels causing in the more oxygen from lungs to get into circulation. 

Why is mouth breathing bad? 

Mouth breathing can lead to

  • Dryness of mouth which causes gum inflammation
  • Proclined upper and lower front teeth 
  • Improper jaw growth 
  • Smaller airway
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • Digestive problems 
  • Sleep apnea , Snoring 
  • Bad posture, Chronic slouching

How to stop the habit? 

There are two different types of methods

Non invasive methods:

  1. Specialised breathing exercises
  2. Lip and oro muscular exercises

Invasive methods:

  1. Septoplasty – Surgery to correct septal deviation
  2. Removal of Adenoids
  3. Jaw expanses devices and braces (If identified early in children)
  4. Removal of Nasal Polyps
  5. Mouth breathing habit breaking Appliance

In our Mogappair Denticare Dental Clinic we focus on identifying mouth breathing in both children and adults and appropriate treatment is suggested. Early intervention can prevent all the harmful effects of mouth breathing.

Keep Smiling & Stay Happy

Dr. Gnanaraj Jayabal
Dental & Implant Surgeon
Denticare Chennai

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