Signs and Symptoms
Before we discuss how mouth breathing can negatively affect your oral health, it’s important to mention some of the signs and symptoms of this potentially dangerous habit since many mouth breathers don’t even realize they’re doing it until serious issues develop. Some common signs and symptoms of being a mouth breather include:
- Dry lips
- Crowded teeth
- Snoring and open mouth while sleeping
- Increased number of airway infections including sinus, ear, colds
- Chronic bad breath
Breathing out of the mouth is usually caused by Chronic nasal obstruction (CNO). When your body can’t get enough oxygen by breathing through your nose, it automatically resorts the only other thing that can supply your body with the oxygen it needs – your mouth.
This may lead to many oral health problems. Mouth breathing can quickly dry out the mouth and decrease saliva production. Saliva is extremely important for neutralizing acid and helping to wash away bacteria, without it, the chance of tooth decay and cavities increases. A dry mouth can also lead to bad breath and other serious concerns.
Dry mouth is one of the causes of gum disease, a dangerous oral health problem that can create health issues throughout your body including stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks. In children, breathing from the mouth may lead to poor sleep, lower oxygen concentration in the blood, and facial deformities.
Since humans are designed to breathe through their noses, when they try to breathe out of their mouths, their posture has to change in order to keep the airway open. This may cause developmental problems, especially in children who are prone to mouth breathing. When a child is breathing from his or her mouth, they probably won’t identify a problem since it is their norm. However, if left undiagnosed and untreated, the face can begin to grow long and narrow, the nose can become flat and the nostrils small, and the lips can be thin on top and quite pouty on the bottom. This, in addition to the other negative effects to oral health, shows that mouth breathing is a whole body problem and should be treated as early as possible.