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Mouth Breathing: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Welcome to the latest blog post from Channon Lawrence Dental, your local Gympie dentists. Today, we're talking about something we do all day, every day, without much thought at all, breathing. But have you ever stopped to think about how you breathe?

Mouth breathing might seem like a simple habit, but it's one that can have significant impacts on your health.

In this months blog update, we will be taking a closer look at

  • what mouth breathing is,

  • why it matters, and

  • what you can do about it.

Ready to breathe a little easier and stop negatively impacting your health? Let’s get started!

What Is Mouth Breathing?

Mouth breathing is exactly what it sounds like, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. But it's not just about catching your breath after a sprint. It's when your mouth becomes your go-to for breathing, even during rest or sleep.

While it might not sound like a big deal, this habit can lead to some surprising health issues. It's important to understand what mouth breathing is so we can recognise and treat it effectively.

Mouth Breathing | Gympie Dentist

What Causes Mouth Breathing?

If you are someone prone to mouth breathing, you may be wondering why. For some, it's a temporary issue due to a cold or allergies blocking the nasal passages. But for others, it might be due to more persistent factors like nasal obstruction, sinus problems, or even habits formed in childhood.

Understanding these causes is crucial in finding the right approach to manage and treat mouth breathing.

How Can Mouth Breathing Impact Your Health?

Mouth breathing might seem harmless, but it can have far-reaching effects on your health. It can lead to dry mouth, which increases the risk of dental problems like cavities and gum disease. It can also affect your sleep quality, leading to snoring and sleep apnea.

For kids, mouth breathing can even impact facial development and growth. That’s right, mouth breathing can have a huge impact on your child’s health.

The health impacts of mouth breathing are diverse and significant, making it crucial to address this habit early on.

Gympie Dentist | Nasal Breathing

Nasal Breathing: The Solution For Mouth Breathing

So, what is the solution for mouth breathing? Switch it up and start nose breathing. Breathing through your nose filters and humidifies the air, improves oxygen uptake, and even enhances your exercise performance.

It's a small change that can lead to big improvements in your overall health and well-being.

Treatment Options For Mouth Breathing

Tackling mouth breathing involves a mix of treatments and lifestyle changes. For some, medical interventions for allergies or structural issues in the nose might be necessary. Breathing exercises and therapies can also play a significant role in retraining the body to breathe through the nose.

Additionally, simple lifestyle changes like ensuring a dust-free sleeping environment can make a big difference. There's no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are plenty of options to explore.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mouth Breathing

What exactly is mouth breathing?

Mouth breathing is when you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, even when you're not supposed to, like during sleep.

Is mouth breathing bad?

Yes, it can be a health concern. In our experience, most people don't realise that it's more serious and can have a greater impact than they realised. Not getting enough oxygen can affect not just your face, sleep, teeth and oral health, but your body’s overall health.

Chronic mouth breathing can lead to a dry mouth, increase the risk of dental problems, disrupt your sleep, and even impact the way your face grows, especially in kids. There is a lot of new research surrounding crooked and crowded teeth in children who mouth breathe.

Can you stop mouth breathing?

Yes, for the most part, it’s a habit that can be broken ! Often mouth breathing begins when you can’t breathe through your nose due to a cold, flu, stuffed-up nose from allergies, chronic illnesses, or just a habit that started when you were young. Like all habits, it can be changed. We can recommend exercises for your tongue that you can repeat several times a day – anywhere and any time!

How does mouth breathing affect my dental health?

Mouth breathing can dry out your mouth, which isn't good news for your teeth and gums. It can also lead to crooked teeth and bite issues.

"Proper tongue posture is crucial for palate and jaw growth and straight teeth, but it also holds your airway open.

Proper tongue posture contributes to oxygen delivery and straight teeth in many ways. These include:

  1. allowing nasal breathing to expand the maxilla

  2. applying direct upward pressure to expand the palate

  3. opening airways (due to its muscle connections to the soft palate, spine, and base of the skull)

  4. activating the neuromuscular pathways that train the airway to stay open during sleep"

Can I actually switch from mouth breathing to nose breathing?

Yes, you can! With some simple tongue exercises and techniques, you can make the switch. Breathing exercises and medical help can do wonders here. Mention your concern to Dr Mark Cull or any of our dentists and we can help you.

Should I breathe through my nose?

Yes, that is what it was made for! Nasal breathing filters and humidifies the air, which makes you a better breather overall, improves your exercise performance, and just keeps your body functioning at its best.

Nitric Oxide plays an integral role….

One of the most important ways that nasal breathing helps oxygen flow is via a gas called nitric oxide(NO). The role of nitric oxide in the body and respiration was only recently identified.

Nitric oxide is produced in the nasal sinuses by specific enzymes. It’s instrumental in delivering oxygen around the body efficiently because it regulates blood flow. When it mixes with air delivered to the lung, it increases arterial oxygen tension and reduces blood pressure.

Nitric oxide also has a vital role deep within your body’s cells. There, it influences platelet function, immunity and the nervous system. It’s also important in homeostasis and the regulation of mitochondrial function. It’s produced elsewhere in the body but the biggest contributor is the minute amounts inhaled through the nose into the lungs.

Can mouth breathing change a kid's face?

It can indeed. If children keep mouth breathing for a long time, it can actually affect how their facial bones grow and how their teeth line up.

What’s the best way to fix mouth breathing?

We've got options! Medical treatments for nasal issues, breathing exercises, changes in your daily habits (like keeping your sleeping space dust-free), and even dental treatments if needed.

How Dental Professionals Can Help

As dental professionals, we play a key role in identifying and managing mouth breathing, especially in children. Regular dental check-ups allow us to spot early signs of mouth breathing and its effects on oral health. We can then guide you towards the best dental treatments and interventions.

Remember To Breathe Through Your Nose

Breathing is a natural part of life, but the way we breathe can have a big impact on our health. Whether you're dealing with mouth breathing yourself or are just interested in improving your breathing habits, it's never too late to start making changes.

Do you think you may be suffering from some dental impacts from mouth breathing? Contact your local Gympie dentist, Dr Mark Cull at Channon Lawrence Dental today. We offer a comprehensive range of dental services to help keep your oral health in top shape. You can get in touch with us today by calling (07) 5482 7688, or emailing us at We look forward to hearing from you.

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