Have you ever had a cold that stuffs up your nose so badly, you can’t breathe through it? We’ve all been there! When that happens, it’s normal to default to mouth breathing instead. Although it might not seem like a big deal, the habit can lead to some serious oral health concerns – especially if it begins in childhood. Read along to learn how breathing out of your mouth can harm your smile.
Why Do People Mouth-Breathe?
There are several possible causes behind a mouth-breathing habit. Children, in particular, might start during a bad cold and continue to breathe through their mouth even when their nose clears up. In some cases, bite alignment issues make it difficult for people to keep their mouths closed, leading to mouth breathing. Persistent allergies, overlarge tonsils, or a deviated septum can also make it challenging for people to breathe through their noses. Luckily, orthodontic treatment or surgery can correct most of these issues.
How Does Mouth Breathing Affect Oral Health?
Mouth-breathing can lead to various health issues, such as:
Breathing out of your mouth dries it out, causing saliva production to decrease – and that is bad news for your mouth. Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining good oral health by eliminating harmful bacteria and neutralizing acids. If your mouth is not producing an adequate amount of saliva, your chances of developing tooth decay, chronic bad breath, and other issues are much higher.
Lack of Energy
When mouth breathing, your body isn’t getting as much oxygen as it usually does. Typically, this results in poor sleep quality and lower overall energy levels. For children, that means they’ll likely have a hard time paying attention in school. For adults, it can cause their productivity at work to suffer.
Your risk of sleep apnea increases significantly when you mouth-breathe. Not sure what that is? It’s a sleep disorder that causes your breathing to stop and start repeatedly. If you snore loudly and still feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have this disorder. It’s important that you seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent heart problems and other complications.
Mouth breathing can be a life-altering habit if it begins in childhood and goes unchecked. It can cause the bones on their face to develop into a long, narrow shape with a flattened nose, short upper lip, and pouty lower lip. Breathing out of the mouth can also cause crooked teeth, gummy smiles, headaches, and sore throats.
How Do You Know If You’re a Mouth Breather?
Here are common signs and symptoms that could indicate you’re a mouth breather:
- Dry lips
- Crowded teeth
- Snoring and having an open mouth while sleeping
- Increased number of airway infections (sinus, ear, colds)
- Chronic bad breath
Do you think you might be suffering from mouth breathing? Ask your dentist to help you determine an underlying cause. Seeking treatment is the first step on your journey towards healthier breathing!
About the Practice
At Painesville Dental Group, we offer state-of-the-art, personalized, compassionate dental care that patients of all ages can enjoy. We go above and beyond to comprehensive services that are bound to exceed even the highest patient expectations. If you or your child are struggling with mouth breathing, we can help you kick that habit to the curb with professional treatment. Visit our website or call our office to schedule an appointment.