It’s often normal for mouth breathing to occur while dealing with nasal congestion or during vigorous exercise. But when it occurs all the time, even while sleeping, it can be a serious oral health issue. Mouth breathing has a long history of leading to oral health problems, including crooked teeth, bad breath, and even gum disease. Mouth breathing can create some serious concerns if not immediately addressed for children, and for adults, it can be a sign of sleep apnea or some other serious dental problem that needs addressing. Luckily, we’re here to help provide treatment for mouth breathing and keep your mouth healthy.
What Causes Mouth Breathing?
Mouth breathing most often happens due to obstructed nasal airways. Our nasal cavities act as the primary source of oxygen as our noses work to filter the air of particles and help condition the air we breathe to our lungs. Our noses also play an important part in protecting our bodies from bacterial and viral matter within the air and work to produce mucus to protect our bodies from these foreign agents. However, when we’re ill from the common cold or have nasal problems that interfere with our ability to breathe, then mouth breathing becomes more prominent. Mouth breathing bypasses the air filtration process and thus makes our bodies more vulnerable to disease.
But even more than that, mouth breathing can lead to oral health problems. According to some studies, mouth breathing and other airway problems have huge dental implications for growing children and adults as it impacts the proper development of the upper airways and structures throughout the mouth. Nasal passages that are blocked in some way due to nasal polyps, nasal congestion, and even deviated septum can greatly impact your oral health and overall health in significant ways, including:
- Dry Mouth: Dry mouth is often the first sign of oral health problems due to how mouth breathing restricts saliva production. Saliva is critical for oral health as it helps remove bacteria and protect our teeth and gums from collecting plaque and tartar.
- Cavities: Cavities often occur as a side effect of mouth breathing due to the restriction in saliva flow. Combined with poor oral hygiene, cavities can occur more frequently as a result.
- Gum Disease: Gum disease often happens as a long-term consequence of dry mouth and cavities, and mouth breathing can increase the risk of gum disease due to the unhealthy environment it creates.
- Bad Breath: Bad breath occurs as a symptom of mouth breathing due to the constant influx of poorly filtered air to the lungs and can be exasperated by poor oral health.
- Crowded Teeth: For children, mouth breathing can affect their tooth development and lead to overcrowded teeth. This issue, later on, can lead to other issues such as TMJ disorder and sleep apnea as they get older.
Finding Treatment For Mouth Breathing
Mouth breathing may not seem like a huge issue at first, but over time it can have a significant impact on your health. Some of the best ways to find treatments for mouth breathing is by visiting your dentist and seeing other specialists such as allergists and sleep apnea specialists to help fix these problems early before they become more painful and costly.