The effect of mouthbreathing on overall health


We all breathe through our mouths from time to time — when we’re congested as a result of allergies or a cold, or when we’re doing vigorous exercise, for example — and that’s completely normal.

Mouth breathing can, however, cause a range of problems if you do it all the time. Children who breathe through their mouths can suffer from facial deformities as well as orthodontic problems, while adults can develop gum disease and bad breath.

Are you a mouth breather?

It is possible that you don’t even realise that you breathe through your mouth, especially if you do so when you are sleeping. If you snore or often wake up with a sore throat, bad breath or a dry mouth, it could be a sign that you breathe through your mouth at night. You may also wake up feeling tired and irritable, feeling unrested even after a night of sleep.

In children, some of the common symptoms of chronic mouth breathing include irritability, dry and cracked lips, daytime drowsiness, and even problems focusing at school. In fact, children who breathe through their mouths at night often don’t get enough good quality sleep, and are often misdiagnosed with conditions like attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity because of their behaviour.

What can cause mouth breathing?

In most cases, mouth breathing is caused by a nasal obstruction, which prevents the proper flow of air into the nose. Obstructive sleep apnoea is a condition which causes interruptions in breathing during sleep, and is a common cause of mouth breathing.  The shape and size of the jaw can also impact one’s airflow, as can a deviated septum and enlarged adenoids and tonsils.

What impact can mouth breathing have on overall health?

Mouth breathing can actually lead to a number of health issues, and in children in particular, the condition can cause physical abnormalities like gummy smiles, poor posture, long and narrow faces, and malocclusion. Also, if children do not get good quality sleep as a result of a nasal obstruction at night, it is often likely that they will experience poor growth, as well as problems with academics and behaviour at school.

How can we help?

If you feel fatigued on a daily basis, or your child is showing signs of mouth breathing or a sleeping disorder, we recommend that you come in and see us. We have been working with patients who suffer from these kinds of issues for years, and have a wide variety of appliances that can help. The treatment that we most often recommend is known as a mandibular advancement splint (MAS), which has proven to be very effective.

To find out more about this treatment or to arrange a consultation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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