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The Effects of Mouth Breathing

What is a mouth breather?

A mouth breather is someone who habitually inhales and exhales through the mouth rather than through the nose. Some common signs of being a mouth breather include:

  1. Dry Lips.

  2. Crowded teeth.

  3. Snoring and open mouth while you sleep.

  4. Narrow high vaulted palate.

  5. Increased number of airway infections including sinus, ear or a cold.

What causes someone to become a mouth breather?

There are many reasons why people breathe only through their mouth including:

  • Allergic Rhinitis - the inflammation and swelling of airways caused by allergens. The most common allergens include dust mites, animal hair, grasses and pollen.

  • Deviated septum - the bone and cartilage between both sides of the nose tends to collapse and deviate the nose

  • Large tonsils or large adenoids

  • Mouth breathing is a habit, and therefore even if some of these causes are addressed, it may take some training to convert back to nasal breathing.

What are the effects of mouth breathing?
  • Mouth breathing can cause a decrease in the pH of your entire body, making it more acidic. A low pH is not only bad for your overall health, but is very corrosive to your teeth.

  • Your body is designed for you to breathe through your nose as it warms, humidifies and filters the air to prevent bacteria and other particles from entering into your lungs. However, when you breathe through your mouth this does not happen and can lead to chronic irritation of your airway.

  • Mouth breathing can quickly cause your mouth to dry out and decrease your saliva production. Dry mouth can increase your chance of tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease.

  • Many children that breathe through their mouth, especially when they sleep, generally have poor quality sleep. Recent studies have found that this significantly increases the risk of development of behavioral and social difficulties for young children.

  • Mouth breathing can cause dental developmental problems and tooth crowding. Some of the main oral changes that can occur include:

  • Excessive molar eruption.

  • Clockwise rotation of the mandible.

  • Open bite.

  • Low tongue posture resulting in reduced lateral expansion and anterior development of the maxilla.

Can Gentle Care Dentistry help?

Yes, if you are concerned about you or your child’s mouth breathing please make a consultation with our dentist or oral health therapist on (02) 8411 2674 or book an appointment online.

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