Everyone knows that breathing is an essential human function. It’s so automatic that often times how we’re breathing becomes an afterthought. What most people don’t realize is that how we breathe actually plays a large part in our dental and overall health.
Are You a Mouth Breather or a Nose Breather?
Breathing through your nose is the most healthy, effective way to breathe. It increases the production of saliva, which is extremely important for neutralizing acid and helping to wash away bacteria. Without it, the chance of tooth decay and cavities increases. Nose breathing also aids in the proper development of the upper airway, skeletal structures, and overall healthy dental growth.
If you’re a mouth breather (which is caused by obstructions of the upper airway) it might not seem like a big deal—but it can actually create major concerns in terms of oral health and the overall health of your body.
Signs and Symptoms of a Mouth Breather
Since many people who breathe through their mouths aren’t aware it’s happening until serious issues develop, let’s look at some of the signs and symptoms of this potentially harmful habit:
- Dry lips and mouth
- Snoring and open mouth while sleeping
- Chronic sinus and ear infections and colds
- Chronic bad breath
- Swollen and red gums that bleed easily
Have you experienced these symptoms or know that you’re a mouth breather? Call our office so we can work on a plan to get you back to better dental and body health together.
More Than “Cotton” Mouth
As we mentioned above, mouth breathing is usually caused by an obstruction in your upper airway. If your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs through your nose, the brain automatically adjusts to get oxygen through your mouth. This dries out oral structures, and you may notice waking up with a “cotton” mouth.
Frequently having a dry mouth can cause gum disease, which can become even more dangerous throughout your body—creating issues like heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. Mouth breathing in children could lead to bad sleep, lower oxygen concentration in the blood, and “Long-faced Syndrome,” a facial deformity that gives the face a long appearance, drooped eyes, dark spots under the eyes, open lips, narrow nostrils, weak cheek muscles, and a high palate.
The Dental Breakdown
Many people who breathe their mouths experience a dramatic breakdown in their dental health. This can include teeth, fillings or crowns literally wearing down. Unstable airways can lead to clenching and grinding, which puts a tremendous amount of stress on our teeth, causing erosion, fractures, and tooth decay.
Beyond Our Mouths
Because people with obstructed upper airways experience sleep disturbed breathing, some mouth breathers can develop chronic diseases such as:
- Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Laryngeal pharyngeal reflux (LPR)
- Type II diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Sleep apnea
These diseases, in addition to the other negative effects to oral health, demonstrate just how dangerous mouth breathing can be. It’s a whole-body problem that should be treated as early as possible. Our team is trained to look for the signs and symptoms of mouth breathing so we can catch it early—preventing problems from occurring later.
Contact us at our Pittsford, NY office today at (585) 348-2575 to learn more, or schedule a consultation. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you have. Pittsford Dental Excellence Center provides total oral healthcare to patients in Fairport, Pittsford, and Rochester, NY.