Typically, people breathe in and out through their nose, but some breathe in and out through their mouth, which is known as mouth breathing. Mouth breathing can occur throughout the day, or just at night due to medical conditions such as sleep apnea.
What causes mouth breathing?
If you have a cold, you might guess why you would breathe a bit more through your mouth instead of your nose. But other things can cause mouth breathing as well, including:
Why Mouth Breathing Matters
Mouth breathing can lead to snoring, and your partner may request you try to correct the problem so he or she can sleep! There are some other problems caused by mouth breathing that may also send you seeking solutions. These include:
Medical treatments can differ depending on the underlying cause, but there are a few tools to help you breathe through your nose. A snore guard or a chin-up strip will help you keep your mouth closed and encourage you to breathe through your nose. You can open your nasal passages before you sleep with nasal sprays, breathing strips, or a nasal irrigation system (Neti pot). Another trick is to tighten the muscles that keep the mouth closed by chewing gum or holding a pen between your teeth 10 minutes before you go to bed.
Mouth breathing is a highly treatable condition. Do not be alarmed if you start mouth breathing occasionally due to an illness such as a common cold, but if mouth breathing occurs regularly be sure to seek medical attention to find out why and retrain yourself to breathe through your nose. Contact us if you have questions about whether mouth breathing is affecting your dental health.