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The Effects Of Mouth Breathing on Dental Health

Mouth Breathing on Dental Health- Recently, a Tik Tok video showing taping the mouth to stop mouth breathing went viral. Health experts warned against it and deemed it harmful for people with breathing-related issues, especially obstructive sleep apnea. It may also impact your facial structure in the long term. However, a lesser-known fact is that mouth breathing also affects your dental health. Dry mouth and bad breath are the two most common oral health-related side effects of mouth breathing. So, in what other ways mouth breathing affects your dental health? Read on to learn more about it.

How is nose breathing different from mouth breathing? 

Nose breathing is a normal and healthy way of breathing. It filters dust particles and heat and humidifies the air as it travels through the nasal passages. This process also helps prevent microbes or allergens from entering the body, thus lowering the possibility of allergic reactions, nasal dryness, flu, etc. Alternatively, mouth breathing for a long time may cause the following side effects:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Changes to mouth or jaw shape
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Teeth disfigurement

Besides, the lack of filtration and humidification in mouth breathing increases the risk of air-borne infections. It also increases the susceptibility to lung and respiratory problems and may worsen the symptoms of breathing conditions, for example, asthma.

What are the effects of mouth breathing?

Different studies have highlighted the following effects of mouth breathing.

Lesser chances of hyperventilating during anaerobic exercises

Lack of nitric acid production during breathing may affect performance during a workout.

It may affect a person’s ability to think as the type of breathing involves strengthening connections between different brain regions. But, overall, breathing through the mouth offers no cognitive benefits.

Does mouth breathing affect adults and children differently?

Yes, the repercussions of mouth breathing differ in children. However, it may be detrimental to their growth and development, especially when it sets early on. In infants and young children, growth hormone levels may decrease because mouth breathing slows their growth and development.

Changes to the mouth or jaw structure may also be seen in children who breathe through their mouths because it gradually shifts the jaw bone. Some children may also experience a change in teeth angles when they breathe through their mouth.

What are the causes of mouth breathing?

Nasal passage blockage is the primary reason for mouth breathing. It could also be out of habit or a temporary illness (for example, a stuffed nose because of the flu). Some other causes of mouth breathing include:

  • Cold
  • Sinus infection
  • Nasal congestion
  • Enlarged adenoids or tonsils
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps
  • Small jaw
  • Cleft palate
  • Dehydration
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Your dentist can share a treatment plan for managing the condition once they identify the cause of mouth breathing.

What are the symptoms of mouth breathing for The Effects Of Mouth Breathing on Dental Health

The signs and symptoms of mouth breathing appear sometime after its onset. Common symptoms of mouth breathing are:

  • Dry and cracked lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Snoring
  • Sinus and ear infections
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Frequent colds
  • Swelling in gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Cavities

You may experience one or more symptoms at a time. However, orthodontic treatment can help prevent the worsening of mouth breathing-related symptoms.

What are the effects of mouth breathing on your dental health?

Dry mouth and tooth decay

Mouth breathing makes you vulnerable to dry mouth, resulting in bad breath and tooth decay. In the worst cases, it may also lead to gingivitis. Guess how? Breathing through the mouth decreases saliva production. The sinuses add moisture to the air when you inhale through your nose. However, this action is missing when you breathe orally. Therefore, it puts you at a greater risk for dry mouth.

The resultant lack of saliva inhibits the self-cleaning mechanism of your mouth, giving way to plaque and pathogens to multiply. It also increases acidity in your mouth, increasing the possibility of tooth decay. Tooth decay because of fry mouth is more likely to show up along the gum line and may affect the inner dentin as it is less resistant to acidity than enamel.

Gum problems

The lack of saliva puts you at risk of gum diseases, such as gingivitis and even periodontitis. Gingivitis starts with red or pink gums, intermittent bleeding, and sensitivity, but it is a reversible condition. However, it gets difficult to treat when it advances to periodontitis, a severe gum disease that may cause tooth loss. In the case of people with a history of diabetes and respiratory issues, periodontitis can progress at a much faster rate. Besides, treating periodontitis is more expensive and time-consuming than getting a dentist’s help treating mouth breathing.

Facial changes

Chronic mouth breathing can change your face structure in many ways. For example, long-face syndrome, weak cheek muscles, a flatter nose, and a high palate are all associated with mouth breathing. You may also develop bite issues and malocclusion because of poor facial development caused by mouth breathing. These effects are more likely to occur when mouth breathing starts early. Pediatric mouth breathers are also prone to abnormalities that affect the ability to swallow and speech defects. A 2014 study underlines that the habit of mouth-breathing among children may lead to the forward inclination of lower incisors, a convex facial profile, and a higher degree of lip separation.

Therefore, adults and children should visit a dentist from time to time to identify and treat the side effects of mouth breathing.

Conclusion About Mouth Breathing on Dental Health

Chronic mouth breathing may affect your oral health adversely. Therefore, if a family member informs you that you sleep with your mouth open or notice your child doing so, contact a dentist at the earliest to avoid the side effects of long-term mouth breathing.

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