Ideally, we should breathe through our noses whenever possible. Congestion and strenuous exercise may lead us to breathe through our mouths occasionally, which is normal, but some people may find themselves breathing through their mouths more frequently, which can create a variety of problems.
There are several causes of frequent mouth breathing, often due to an inability to breathe properly through the nose. Allergies or other sensitivities may cause the tissues in the nasal passage to become inflamed and therefore decrease the space available for airflow. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids (nasal tonsils) or deviated nasal septums can also limit airflow through the nose.
If these problems occur in a person’s youth they will often develop into a mouth-breathing habit – even though the person may be able to breathe through their nose. This happens because when breathing through the mouth, the tongue drops to the floor of the mouth instead of its ideal position on the roof of the mouth. Over time the upper jaw narrows from unbalanced forces applied by the cheeks and lip. The narrow upper jaw traps the lower jaw back in turn. This forces the tongue further back, which crowds the airways and blocks the throat.
In any case, the open-mouth posture that is required when breathing through the mouth can cause a variety of problems, especially when in this position for extended periods of time, like when we are sleeping. Some of the problems related to breathing through the mouth are narrow or crooked smiles, worn teeth, TMJ pain, sleep apnea, gum disease, and bad breath.
If you have a tendency to breathe through your mouth, it’s best to seek guidance from a professional. At Kelowna Dental Solutions, we look for the root cause of the problem so that we can offer our patients long-lasting complete solutions. Contact us to book your next dental check-up today.