Mouth Breathing

By:
Col Dr Mahendra Azad
Clinical Director & Chief Consultant,
Maxillofacial Surgery & Implantology
Clove Dental

Healthy breathing occurs through the nose, with right amount of Oxygen intake while breathing in and release of Carbon-dioxide while breathing out. When you stop breathing from the nose, your mouth tends to open and you start breathing through your mouth instead. This leads to deficiencies in O2 (Oxygen), CO2 (Carbon-dioxide), and NO (Nitric Oxide) in body cells due to hyperventilation – a condition in which you start to breathe very fast.

Our nose acts as a natural filter for all the particulate material suspended in the air and warms it when the air passes through the nasal passage. In this manner, the air which goes inside our lungs is much cleaner than what we breathe directly through the mouth. When we breathe through our mouth, the air dries up the saliva which is a natural lubricant of the mouth as well as for all the food we eat. Due to this dryness, bacteria tends to grow faster in the oral cavity, which can often lead to various kind of diseases such as:

1. Decreased blood supply for vital organs

2. Constriction of airway and polluted air leads to shortness of breath, nasal congestion, frequent nose, throat and chest infections such as:

  • Sinusitis
  • Enlarged Tonsils
  • Enlarged Adenoids
  • Extra Mucous (Phlegm production)

3. Muscular Tensions: Decreased supply of oxygen in the blood cells leads to muscular tensions

4. Since breathing through the nose helps in the development of the nasal bones and muscles, it can lead to:

  • Deviated Nasal Septum
  • Depressed Nose

5. Snoring
It occurs when the Oro-laryngeal muscles relax and the individual stops breathing due to obstruction in the air passage

6. Facial Deformities

  • Protruding upper jaw
  • Protruding teeth with spaces in the front teeth
  • Depressed cheek bones

While breathing through your mouth, the lips remain sealed which does not allow the out-ward growth of jaw bones and teeth. Breathing from the nose allows the expansion of the sinuses, located on both side of the face in the cheek area. In case of mouth breathing, the bones of the sinuses do not develop well and results in a flattened cheek appearance.

7. Increased Tongue Size
Due to lack of lip seal in the mouth breathers tongue size increases and is larger than the normal.

8. Gum Diseases
Breathing from the mouth dries the saliva leading to increased dryness of the mouth. This aids the growth of bacterial flora in the oral cavity. These bacteria’s cause gum infection and other diseases of the oral cavity and other organs of the human body.

9. Increase in the size of the lower lip?
Lips become dry and the individual breathing from the mouth tends to make them moist with saliva by the help of the tongue repeatedly.

10. Indigestion
Saliva not only helps in lubricating the foods but also contains enzymes which helps in better digestion of the food.

11. Increased heart rate

12. Abnormalities related to regularization of blood pressure, blood glucose level and body weight.

How should you manage these issues?

1. There are various oral appliances, medical devices and surgical treatment procedures which are available for management for this problem. You should always consult a Specialist.

2. Life-style changes such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol intake
  • Sleeping drugs
  • Sleeping on your side rather than on your abdomen or back

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