Six Harmful Consequences of Mouth Breathing- And What To Do About It
Updated: May 1, 2020
May is Mouth Breathing Awareness Month. Chronic mouth breathing is not normal or healthy. Here we consider 6 consequences of mouth breathing and what you should do about it.
"Mouth breather." On the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, the characters Mike and Eleven used this insult to refer to bullies, antagonistic adults, and the nefarious Demogorgon. There are no positive connotations of the phrase. Mouth breathers are often seen as unattractive, "zoned out", or of lower intelligence. In reality, mouth breathing is not a character deficiency. In fact, there are usually physical factors causing a person to use their mouth to breathe instead of their nose, and the resulting problems can be even worse than children's cruel words. Mouth breathing, day or night, hurts your body in many ways; just a few of them are illustrated in the infographic below.
Habitual mouth breathing, or even just an open mouth posture, is harmful to your health and can affect the proper development of the jaws and airway.
I often share this brief YouTube video with my patients to help them visualize how mouth breathing affects how our jaws grow and the subsequent problems that can result from these changes. Most are surprised to see how something seemingly benign can do so much damage.
If Mouth Breathing is Affecting You
What should you do if you or someone you know is affected by mouth breathing? It is a medical problem that should be addressed as soon as possible. With the exception of the occasional cold or bout of allergies, we should be able to breathe comfortably through our nose day and night. (To learn more about nasal breathing benefits check this post out.) To resolve the issue, you have to figure out why it is happening. Often, there is some physical obstruction, inflammation, or orofacial structural issue impeding nasal breathing. Sometimes it is merely a subconscious habit. Habitual nasal breathing is one of the main goals of orofacial myofunctional therapy and these therapists work as a part of an interdisciplinary team that may include an ENT, allergist, or other healthcare providers to get you breathing correctly. Changing the way you breathe can change your life! For more information, please feel free to reach out to me on the contact page here.
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