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The Dangers of Mouth Breathing

The Dangers of Mouth Breathing

One of the most essential bodily processes is breathing. Breathing is responsible for supplying our bodies with the oxygen that we require to exist. But despite this, the majority of us don’t give our breathing any thought.

For example, do you know that there is a proper and improper way to breathe?

Proper breathing starts in the nose and then moves to the stomach as your diaphragm contracts, the belly expands and your lungs fill with air. It is the most efficient way to breathe, as it pulls down on the lungs, creating negative pressure in the chest, resulting in air flowing into your lungs.

What is Mouth Breathing?

When you intentionally or accidentally breathe via your mouth rather than your nose, this is known as mouth breathing. It is frequently a result of stress, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, but it can also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Mouth breathing may be used during intense activity to help oxygen get to your muscles more quickly.

Types of Mouth Breathing

There are 3 types of mouth breathing which are described as follows:

  • Obstructive—this is often associated with adenoids (the patch of tissue high up in the throat, just behind the nose) or a severely deviated nasal septum (the nasal septum separates the right and left airways of the nasal cavity and divides your two nostrils).
  • Habitual—this is a form of over-breathing often caused by an individual’s mouth being much larger than their two nostrils, and it can burden the respiratory system.
  • Anatomic—this can involve a deformity in the airway passage and abnormal breathing, which can lead to postural issues and sleep apnea.

What causes mouth breathing?

Mouth breathing happens when people can’t breathe through their noses. Some conditions that affect nasal breathing include:

  • Enlarged adenoids: Adenoids are glands that look like small lumps of tissue located above the roof of your mouth and behind your nose. Adenoids protect young children from bacteria and viruses. Sometimes, adenoids are swollen or infected, blocking children’s airways. Adenoids typically shrink as people age, so enlarged adenoids are less likely to cause mouth breathing in adults.
  • Nasal congestion: If you have allergies, colds or chronic sinusitis, you may have a persistent stuffy nose that keeps you from breathing through your nose.
  • Deviated septum: Your septum is cartilage and bone that divides the inside of your nose into two sides. When your septum leans to one side, it can block your airway.

Why Should You Be Concerned about Mouth Breathing?

Your mouth and nose serve as the two airways to your lungs. Both are frequently used to breathe, however, when you consistently mouth breathe (especially when sleeping), it can cause a number of health problems.

For example, mouth breathing during sleep as an adult could lead to bad breath or gum disease. And mouth breathing in children has been associated with crooked teeth, delayed growth, and facial abnormalities.

Symptoms of Mouth Breathing

The following symptoms are easy ways to identify if you also mouth breathe or not:

People who breathe through their mouth at night may have the following symptoms:

  • snoring
  • dry mouth
  • bad breath (halitosis)
  • hoarseness
  • waking up tired and irritable
  • chronic fatigue
  • brain fog
  • dark circles under the eyes

Symptoms in children:

If you’re a parent, it’s important to look for signs of mouth breathing in your children.

A child may not be able to communicate their symptoms. Like adults, children who are mouth breathers will snore at night. 

Children who breathe through their mouths for most of the day may also have the following symptoms:

  • slower-than-normal growth rate
  • irritability
  • increased crying episodes at night
  • large tonsils
  • dry, cracked lips
  • problems concentrating at school
  • daytime sleepiness
  • Children who exhibit problems concentrating at school are often misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

How to lessen mouth breathing

This all comes down to the root cause and  treatment plan that you and your doctor choose to implement. 

Your treatment strategy will be influenced by what is causing your mouth breathing. A nasal decongestant, steroid nasal spray, or antihistamine may be suggested by your healthcare professional if you frequently breathe through your mouth due to a blocked nose. These medications will help to lessen inflammation.

The need to breathe via your mouth can be lessened if a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea is treated. Mouth breathing in kids may be made better by removing large tonsils or by correcting their malocclusion (overbite and jaw development).

Encourage Nasal Breathing

It is important that we make it a priority to breathe through our noses. Your nose is made to make breathing easy, effective, and safe for you. It can accomplish this because it can:

  • Remove any extraneous substances. Nasal hair traps dust, allergens, and pollen, preventing them from getting into your lungs.
  • Inhaled air is moistened. You breathe in air that has been warmed and moistened by your nose. This raises the temperature of the air you breathe in, making it easier for your lungs to use.
  • Generate nitric oxide. Your nose releases nitric oxide when you breathe through your nose (NO). Because NO is a vasodilator, it aids in dilating blood arteries. Your body’s oxygenation may be enhanced as a result.

There are so many Advantages that come from nasal breathing!


Mouth breathing is something we all do, but it may actually lead to something else. The best way to get effective results is to come in for a diagnosis exam. Dr. Safavi & the Aligned Healing Team would be more than happy to help you get down to the root cause and ensure that you breathe better. When you breathe better, you sleep better which is good for your overall health.

Our goal is not to overload you with information and create fear but to alert and educate you on some of the problems you, your loved ones or children may be facing. Give us a quick call if you have more questions.

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