Breathing through your mouth might seem harmless but will lead to a variety of problems. Your teeth and health become compromised when you inhale primarily through your mouth. Teeth, jaws and nasal cavities are negatively affected by chronic mouth breathing. With the help of your dentist, you can correct these issues and discover ways to start breathing through your nose.
Your dental and facial structure starts developing at a young age. The breathing routine you get accustomed to carries on into your later life. The way you breathe helps form muscles in your face, neck, and jaw. Properly functioning muscles allow your tongue to rest against your inner jaw, developing the shape of your teeth.
Did you know your tongue is strong enough to exert 500 grams of force? It only takes 1.7 grams of force to move a tooth, so your tongue has enough strength to overpower your teeth. This 100% muscle organ determines the size and shape of your upper jaw. When you are a mouth breather, your tongue gets lost in your mouth. Without your tongue pressing force against your teeth, your top jaw becomes too narrow. A narrow jaw means your teeth have little or no room to grow resulting in crooked teeth.
If you are a nose breather, the tongue creates a good definition of cheekbones and a wider face through force exerted against your jaw. Tongues of mouth breathers have nowhere to rest resulting in facial structure changes as time goes on. If you are a chronic mouth breather, your face will be narrow with a poor definition in your cheekbones. When breathing through your mouth, you tend to tilt your head backwards increasing cranial contents in the back portion of your brain. This has a direct result on your posture and shape of your face and neck.
Identifying mouth breathing at a young age will help improve the way your jaw and teeth grow. When left too long, the situation becomes chronic and requires intervention methods to correct the problem. Your jaw can get altered and teeth straightened with various types of orthodontic tools from palatal expanders to braces. It is best to have your dentist identify and monitor the situation early on. By starting at an early age, a solid routine will positively impact your facial structure and teeth growth.
Nasal mucosa, the mucous membrane that lines the nasal cavities, carry nerves that regulate breathing to reflex nerves that control breathing. Mouth breathing leads you to bypass nasal mucosa resulting in snoring. Snoring can be loud and cause your significant other to lose out on sleep. Do you want them to lay there listening to you snoring all night? Habitual snoring can also lead to developing sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder resulting from interrupted breathing during your sweet dreams. This means you are not getting a full night of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Without this deep sleep, you are putting yourself at risk for health issues. Prolonged sleep apnea can cause you to feel drowsy during the day affecting your quality of life. You may experience drops in your blood oxygen level that could trigger high blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart enlargement, heart attack, and stroke.
Next time you notice if you or your child are breathing exclusively through the mouth, try changing this habit. For your child, it can make the difference between regular visits to the orthodontist or regular visits to the general dentist. For you and your sleeping partner, it may eliminate one of you sleeping on the couch!