Taking a breath isn’t always as simple as it may seem. Performed the wrong way, it can contribute to allergies, gum disease, dry mouth, and other serious health issues. That’s why your dentist in Reno wants you to breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
Why Breathing Through Your Nose is Better
Some parts of the human body never get the recognition they deserve. The nose is a perfect example. It’s more than an appendage to your face; much more. In fact, it plays a key role in keeping you healthy. Here’s what we mean:
- Your nose filters air: inside your nose are tiny hairs that trap dust, dirt, and other contaminants that would otherwise find their way into your body.
- Your nose moistens air: most of us think of mucus as a yucky substance that serves no purpose. In reality, it adds moisture to each breath, helping your lungs to process air.
- Your nose helps your lungs to expand: the act of drawing in air through your nose gives your lungs a mini-workout with each breath. This helps to keep them strong.
What Happens When You Breathe Through Your Mouth
Breathing through your mouth is like removing the air filters from your automotive engine and your home’s climate control system. Your body is inundated with dry, dirty air. This can lead to health problems such as these:
- Allergy symptoms: including itchy skin, runny nose, watery eyes, and potentially even more serious problems such as throat swelling.
- Dry mouth: more than an annoyance,a dry mouth can increase your risks for tooth decay and gum disease by inhibiting saliva production.
- Bad breath: dirty air is more likely to contain bacteria and other foreign substances that contribute to halitosis.
Mouth Breathing and Children: Special Cause for Concern
Young people are more vulnerable to health threats than most adults, since their bodies are still maturing. This makes mouth breathing a special cause for concern for them. Left untreated, it can lead to problems like these:
- Trouble focusing in school: substandard air quality has a direct effect on the brain’s ability to concentrate.
- Lack of energy: due to inhalation of contaminants.
- Behavior problems: while this problem can have many potential causes, airborne pollutants may certainly play a role.
- Reduced physical and intellectual development: caused by the cumulative effects of the problems associated with mouth breathing.
Your Dentist Can Help
Dentists are trained to recognize and treat a range of oral health problems, including respiratory concerns. Here are some ways your dentist can help:
- By diagnosing the cause of the problem: a dentist is often the first health professional to spot issues that can lead to mouth breathing, such as enlarged tonsils or chronic nasal congestion.
- By helping to treat the associated conditions: for example, many dentists can prescribe an oral appliance that widens the palate and enables freer breathing.
- By providing a referral for specialized care: some causes of mouth breathing, such as a deviated septum, may require corrective surgery.
Mouth breathing is a problem you should never ignore. Make an appointment to see your dentist or other healthcare professional about the condition. You’ll soon find yourself breathing easier.
About the Author
Dr. Josh Branco is a distinguished dental
professional with advanced training in oral surgery, implant placement, and
other aspects of specialized care. You can reach his office online or by calling (775)