Am I a Mouth Breather?
- Posted on: Nov 17 2023
WHAT IS MOUTH BREATHING?
In our natural state breathing should occur through the nose. The nose acts as a natural filter that removes toxins from the air we breathe, warming and humidifying the air before it hits the lungs and enhancing circulation. Mouth breathing occurs when someone takes in air through the mouth instead of the nose and typically occurs due to nasal obstruction.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM a MOUTH BREATHER?
Sometimes it is difficult to know if you are mouth breathing, especially if it occurs while you sleep. Some common signs and symptoms of mouth breathing include the following:
- Sore throat
- Dry mouth
- Drooling during the night
- Bad breath
- Disrupted or poor-quality sleep
- Brain fog
WHAT CAUSES MOUTH BREATHING?
Mouth breathing is typically the result of nasal obstruction. They are many sources of nasal obstruction and a thorough evaluation will be needed to pinpoint the specific cause. Common sources of nasal obstruction include:
- Allergic rhinitis: Allergies due to pollen or dander that cause swelling inside of the nose
- Structural issues: Such as a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates, or nasal polyps (growths of the lining inside the nose)
- Sinus infection
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Tumors inside the nose
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF MOUTH BREATHING?
Chronic open-mouth breathing can lead to numerous health issues including:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
- Progressive tongue enlargement which can worsen snoring/OSA
- Poor quality sleep
- Teeth grinding
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
- Tonsil stones
Dental issues are also a concern for chronic mouth breathers. Mouth breathing causes significant dryness which means the saliva in the mouth cannot perform its intended function. This can lead to:
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
- Oral infections
MOUTH BREATHING IN CHILDREN:
In children mouth breathing that goes untreated can lead to physical changes in the way a child grows and develops. Physical changes can include:
- A long narrow face
- Small jaw
- Anterior overbite
- Delayed growth
- Dental crowding and other orthodontic issues
Mouth breathing in children often also causes poor sleep which can result in:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor academic performance
- Behavioral issues
TREATMENT FOR MOUTH BREATHING:
Treatment for mouth breathing depends on the cause. Allergy management, treatment with medications, or correcting structural issues may be recommended depending on the source of the mouth breathing.
If you or your child have symptoms of a mouth breather, call to schedule an appointment with Sinus and Snoring specialists for a thorough evaluation. You can call or securely text us at 512-601-0303.