Is Mouth Breathing Bad for My Health?


Most people don’t give much thought to how they breathe. After all, breathing is a natural instinct that our bodies do without even thinking about it. But did you know that how you breathe matters to your health? Nasal breathing is the preferred breathing method. Have you ever noticed how you breathe? If you breathe through your mouth, you could be harming your health and increasing your risk of certain diseases. The Cleveland Clinic reports that mouth breathing affects both children and adults and that 10-25% of children are mouth breathers. Find out on our blog today just how bad mouth breathing can be for your health.

Our Scotts Valley airway dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry classify mouth breathing as inhaling and exhaling through the mouth. Typically, oral posture in these cases would include the lower jaw open, with the tongue resting low in the mouth. Mouth breathing has oral health consequences, including dry mouth, which increases oral bacteria growth. In turn, the influx of oral bacteria may increase the risk of cavities, bad breath, and gum disease. However, the consequences of mouth breathing do not stop there. When you mouth breathe, you’re not actually breathing enough air for your body. This means that your heart, lungs, brain, and the rest of your body are deprived of oxygen. You may experience chronic fatigue, dark circles under your eyes, snoring while sleeping, restless sleep, and more infections like colds and other sicknesses. Additionally, lower oxygenation in the blood strains vital organs, which could put you at risk for cardiovascular disease and Type-2 diabetes later in life.

Perhaps one of the most notable impacts of mouth breathing is how it alters facial growth. A chronic mouth breather often experiences malocclusion or misaligned teeth, and severely underdeveloped jaws. You may notice mouth breathers usually have a recessed or weak chin and little to no jawline. This is because the mouth gapes open all the time, which alters facial and jaw development as a child grows. Another consequence of mouth breathing is the development of a narrow dental palate, which is the roof of the mouth. Unfortunately, this often results in crowded or overlapping teeth in which an orthodontist may recommend extracting healthy teeth to make room for straightening the teeth that are left. While this may fix your child’s smile aesthetics, it does nothing to address their mouth-breathing habit. In turn, a narrow dental palate means a narrow airway. If your child isn’t getting enough oxygen, it could stunt their growth and lead to developmental delays.

What causes mouth breathing?

Mouth breathing can be caused by chronic allergies, enlarged adenoids, a deviated septum, prolonged thumb sucking, and tongue ties. The sooner the cause is addressed, the quicker our Scotts Valley airway dentists can help correct the mouth breathing problem for you or your child.

How is mouth breathing treated?

Once the mouth breathing cause is addressed, treatment can begin to help you or your child learn how to breathe nasally. The first step in correcting mouth breathing is retraining proper tongue posture, which is the tongue resting against the roof of the mouth with the lips closed and upper and lower teeth touching. Our myofunctional therapists can help children and adults alike adopt the proper oral posture, as well as correct improper swallowing techniques that may also contribute to mouth breathing habits. Myofunctional therapy, if followed as prescribed by your healthcare professional, can correct mouth breathing, and help facilitate adequate jaw growth for children.

Myofunctional Therapy in Scotts Valley, Los Gatos, and Santa Cruz, California

Mouth breathing is detrimental to your oral health, as well as the health of your body. If you would like to learn more about regaining your health through nasal breathing or need to schedule a consultation with a Myofunctional Therapist in Scotts Valley, please contact Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry by calling (831) 438-4411. The sooner you begin treatment, the better, especially for children, although adults can benefit from myofunctional therapy as well.