Most of us don’t stop to think about the air that we breathe, or rather, the way that we breathe that air. Many people don’t consciously make a decisions to either breathe through their mouth or their nose until a certain situation arises. Perhaps a stuffy nose or a lingering cold has forced you to inhale through your mouth. Similarly, during exercise, it isn’t uncommon to breathe through the mouth. However, the way that each person breathes may have an effect on their dental health.
Inhaling and Exhaling
While some individuals may make a case for either mouth breathing or breathing through the nose, it has been scientifically proven that consistently breathing through the mouth over a long period of time can cause health problems.
Developing Bad Habits
Many people start mouth breathing early on in life. This is often the case for someone with allergies, a thumb sucking habit or other serious pre existing health conditions. Once someone starts breathing through their mouth on a regular basis, they may develop a “tongue thrust”. This happens due to the way the tongue is affected by breathing through the mouth.
A tongue thrust can alter the way one swallows, speaks, chews and breathes. Often times, individuals that have developed tongue thrusts must go to a speech therapist to help them unlearn the habit.
Interrupting Growth and Development
While mouth breathing may not significantly affect the growth and development of an adult, children’s faces can be drastically affected by mouth breathing. When children consistently breathe through their mouths, their faces grow long, the cheek bones are not well defined and their chins become “weak”.
Mouth Breathing Can Affect Teeth
Lifelong mouth breathers may have crooked teeth. This is caused again by the tongue thrust and the way that their mouths fall open in order to breathe. Similarly, the the facial expression of a mouth breather is also seen as undesirable.
Disrupting Bodily Functions
In addition to the cosmetic symptoms caused by mouth breathing, breathing through the mouth can lead to experiencing more gas, and upset stomach, gingivitis and more. Breathing through the nose allows the human body to take in air that is warmed, filtered and humidified.
Breathing through the nose is actually ideal for the body. Avoiding breathing through the mouth generally gives the body a better chance at fighting the bad habits, unsavory symptoms and lifelong afflictions that can be caused by breathing through the mouth.