There are many healthy reasons to breathe through your nose, and some serious consequences to mouth-breathing
“Mouth-breather!” It’s a term people might fling as an insult or say as a joke, but breathing through the mouth has some very real, and very serious health consequences. Here’s a partial list:
- Breathing through the mouth has been proven to significantly increase the likelihood of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
- Mouth breathing can cause bad breath, because of altered bacterial population in the mouth.
- Breathing by mouth results dries the tongue, teeth and gums; consequently, levels of acid in the mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum problems
- Another undesirable consequence of mouth breathing, especially when asleep, is dehydration – how often do mouth breathing sleepers awake with a dry mouth?
- Some research had drawn connections between mouth breathing and asthma
- Sports performance can suffer from mouth breathing; when we inhale and exhale through the mouth, oxygen uptake in the lungs can go down.
- There is some research evidence that ADHD is exacerbated by mouth breathing
- Children who breathe through their mouths are at greater risk of abnormal facial structure, head posture, and impaired respiratory strength
Here are some of the benefits of breathing properly through your nostril:
- Nose breathing, especially the resistance to airflow that comes from exhaling through your nose, keeps the air in your lungs a little longer. This can increase the amount of oxygen that enters your bloodstream with each breath as much as 20 per cent
- Much more than your mouth and throat, the nasal passages are designed to warm and humidify the air you inhale. The temperature of your breath can rise more than 40°F on the way from your nose to your lungs. This is especially important in cold weather
- Breathing through the nose helps remove a significant share of germs, irritants and bacteria from each lungful of air you breathe
- It's easier to breathe regularly when you inhale and exhale through your nose
- Nitric oxide (NO), which plays an important part in immune response and vasoregulation, is released in the nasal passages, following the air stream to the lungs
Some of the problems that lead to mouth breathing are a matter of habit, and others may be caused by nasal passage obstruction that can be treated. If you feel your nasal breathing is obstructed, be sure and talk with your physician about your concerns. It’s possible a health-improving remedy is waiting for you!