Mouth breathing may seem to have little to do with oral health, but in fact it is. Normally, people start to breathe through their mouths rather than their noses when they experience congestion in their nasal passages. It stands to reason that if you really can’t get enough air into your lungs through the healthier passage way, the nose, you may be forced to use the mouth instead.
So far, so good. The problem arises when mouth breathing becomes a habit, with unintended consequences. There are several negative effects of habitual mouth breathing and they can and should be addressed.
What is so bad about habitual mouth breathing?
When we at Malmin Dental refer to habitual mouth breathing we mean the use of the mouth to breathe when there is no congestion in the nasal passages or any other reason why the nose isn’t used. The practice of using the mouth has become habitual. These are some of the negative consequences of mouth breathing as far as oral health is concerned;
1. Leaving the mouth open more often leaves the oral cavity open to bacterial and other infections. One of the reasons why the nose is best for breathing is that it has been designed by nature to filter out dust and germs. The mouth is not designed to do this as well as the nose. Of course, that doesn’t mean the mouth should remain shut, but continually breathing through it simply increases the potential for harmful germs to get in with the air being breathed and finding a cosy home in and around your teeth!
2. Sleep apnoea is a problem with several different origins, but continual mouth breathing can exacerbate it or even lead to it developing.
3. When young children develop a mouth breathing habit, it can mean that structural changes to their faces over time make their dental arch and jaws narrower. Left unattended, this may eventually require orthodontic treatment;
4. Loss of energy can result from insufficient oxygen getting into the lungs through the mouth as opposed to the nose;
Orthodontic treatment can often help someone use their nose for breathing
Mouth breathing may not be just something someone gets into a habit of after a nasty cold or lengthy period of congestion. Sometimes, mouth breathing becomes natural as a result of a problem with over or under bite. When someone cannot close their mouths properly because the opposing sets of teeth do not align well, it means that the mouth tends to remain open for longer; making it more natural to breathe through it.
A deviated septum, overlarge tonsils and a persistent allergy may also be responsible for the over use of the mouth for breathing;
Fortunately, some of these problems, particularly issues with bite, can be solved with orthodontic treatment right here at Malmin Dental. A visit to the orthodontist can detect any overbite or under bite or any reason why mouth breathing has become a habitual activity. Our orthodontists can discuss solutions available and why it is important to correct the habit.