What’s Causing all these Cavities

whats causing cavitiesSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

Do you know what causes cavities? Most people would respond with facts such as not taking care of one’s teeth, or consuming too much sugar, but there’s another culprit that you probably never thought of – breathing. Of course, breathing is a necessary part of life, but it’s not the act of breathing that could be to blame, but how you breathe that is the problem.

Myofunctional therapists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry want you to know that there is a strong connection between cavities and mouth breathing.

How are the two connected?

We are designed to breathe through our nose most of the time. Mouth breathing results in a dry mouth, which increases the risk of tooth decay. But, it’s a little more in-depth than that. An open mouth posture and mouth breathing alters the microbiome of the mouth. We naturally have millions of bacteria in the mouth, some of which are not harmful and require a balance to do their part. However, when you start breathing through your mouth consistently, it disrupts these bacteria. Furthermore, mouth breathing changes the pH inside of the mouth, resulting in an increased risk of cavities.

If you are one of those patients who seems to do everything right when it comes to their oral health – you brush twice a day, floss daily, and are religious about your dental checkups and cleanings every six months, yet still find yourself dealing with tooth decay or dental problems, stop and take note of how you’re breathing. Without changing anything, just focus on your breathing as you read this sentence. Are you breathing through your nose, mouth closed and tongue is resting against the roof of your mouth? Or, is your mouth gapping open, tongue resting at the bottom of the mouth, as you breathe through your mouth? If the latter of the two is your answer, keep reading.

What can I do to change my breathing habits?

Regardless of age, whether we are dealing with a child or an adult, change can happen! Of course, the earlier, the better, but even adults can benefit from bone remodeling by wearing a specialized oral appliance and myofunctional therapy. Myofunctional therapy uses specific exercises to retrain the orofacial muscles, including the lips and tongue, to rest and function properly. Also, myofunctional therapy can help train you to breathe nasally, instead of breathing through your mouth. These treatments are invasive and do not cause any pain. It’s really quite simple, but it does require some time on your part, as well as your commitment to following through with treatment.

What happens if I ignore my mouth breathing?

For adults who have lived this way their whole lives, they are at a higher risk of developing cavities or dealing with other oral health problems, but that is not all. Mouth breathing, especially at night, can increase your risk of sleep apnea, which comes backed with its own set of health problems such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Therefore, it’s best to make a change for the better by tackling your mouth breathing habit now. The sooner you fix it, the better and healthier your life will be.

For children who get help early, correcting their breathing habits and oral posture could help them avoid the need for orthodontics later in life, and will help them to develop a more favorable facial appearance. You can read more about our approach here.

Help to stop mouth breathing in Scotts Valley

To learn more about myofunctional therapy or the importance of nasal breathing, please contact Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry by calling (831) 438-4411 to schedule a consultation.

Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry serves the oral health needs of patients in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California.