SCOTTS VALLEY, SANTA CRUZ, CA
Have you ever heard someone referred to as a “mouth breather” or been called that yourself? This is usually a negative term meant to insult someone’s intelligence. In reality, mouth breathing is an unconscious habit that has nothing to do with how smart you are. Mouth breathing represents a silent epidemic in our society; many Americans do it and often never realize it. The reality is unless you are dealing with sinus problems or nasal congestion, mouth breathing is not good for you. Today on the blog, airway dentists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry share five things you need to know about mouth breathing.
Mouth breathing can occur during the day or while sleeping
Are you regularly waking up with dry lips or experiencing chronic bad breath? Either can be an indicator of mouth breathing. If you develop colds, sinus infections, and ear infections often, mouth breathing could be the culprit. Mouth breathing at night also could lead to snoring or loud gasps for air as the airway is restricted. Experiencing these symptoms could mean that you are a chronic mouth breather.
Mouth breathing increases your risk for tooth decay
Mouth breathing reduces your saliva production, drying out your mouth. Saliva serves as a natural defense against the threat of tooth decay as it washes away food particles and bacteria. Experiencing chronic dry mouth also disrupts your mouth’s pH balance, which causes harmful bacteria to flourish and increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Mouth breathing increases your risk of developing gum disease
Dry mouth increases harmful oral bacteria responsible for forming tartar on your teeth, as well as causing gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults and often leads to chronic bad breath. Plus, it has been linked to other health issues like an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses. Less saliva means the bacteria in your mouth are left to cause significant damage to your oral health.
Mouth breathing could lead to growth and developmental issues in children
Mouth breathing typically begins during early childhood and often is caused by an orofacial myofunctional disorder. Left untreated, it can have a pivotal impact on developing a child’s face and jaws, causing narrow dental arches, a flatter nose, a recessed chin, and a longer facial shape. But these effects go far beyond looks. These developmental changes can lead to other issues, including a misaligned bite and even airway issues that eventually lead to sleep apnea later in life.
Treating Mouth Breathing in Scotts Valley
Our Los Gatos airway dentists have the training and knowledge to help through airway assessments and a comprehensive oral exam. Digital imaging may also be needed for the doctor to see the alignment of the underlying bone structure.
At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, we can treat mouth breathing in two ways: through myofunctional therapy or the Buteyko method. Myofunctional therapy entails performing a series of exercises that work the muscles of the mouth and tongue. The goal of myofunctional therapy is to achieve the ideal oral resting posture—with lips together, teeth closed, and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth to encourage nasal breathing. Myofunctional therapy also retrains the orofacial muscles to function properly when the mouth is at rest and when chewing and swallowing. For children, correct oral posture helps stimulate the jawbone and upper dental palate to grow to their fullest potential, which may lessen the need for orthodontics later on. For adults with life-long mouth breathing, additional treatments like orthodontics may help correct tooth misalignment.
We also offer the Buteyko method, which entails taping the lips together for periods of time during the day. The Buteyko method is a short-term treatment, and it encourages slower, shallower breaths and teaches the patient to breathe through the nose with the mouth closed.
Mouth breathing can cause significant oral health problems, as well as affect your looks. Airway dentists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry can help. Schedule a consultation today by calling (831) 438-4411 if you live in the areas of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley in California.