Dr Sally from Brisbane Dental Clinic “Excellence in Dentistry” discusses about mouth breathing and why mouth breathing is wrong at any age.
Noses are made for breathing and our lungs need air that is sterilised, filtered and its volume, temperature and humidity is controlled.
So what happens when we breathe through our mouth?
“Obviously the air that reaches the lungs doesn’t have any of the qualities that I said before. It’s full of germs and it’s polluted and its humidity, temperature and volume is not right. So the first thing is higher chance of respiratory system issues and diseases. Also mouth breathing prohibits the proper exchange of oxygen and dioxide carbon and as a result, the balance between the body’s acid alkalis are going to be disturbed. “
Dr Sally expands further
“We’ve got a big group of muscles in the body called smooth muscles and they work without us being aware of them or being able to control them. They cover all they hollow organs of the body. So like any ducts or tubes, like circulatory system, respiratory system and digestive system. For example, they cover our intestines, stomach and bladder. When the acid alkali balance of the body is disturbed, the first thing that happens is smooth muscles, they go into spasm. So as a result, we see a lot of digestive system issues, circulatory system problems and respiratory problems, like ear and nose infections.
One of the most important consequences of mouth breathing that we dentists deal with is malocclusion. When a child breathes through their nose, their tongue sits on the palate and it stimulates the growth of the palate. When the palate grows normally, the upper jaw grows normally and as a result, the airways behind the upper jaw develop properly. Lower jaw always follows the upper jaw and this interaction helps with the facial growth. Basically, the face grows in a horizontal and forward direction.
When or there’s a mouth breathing, the tongue sits on the floor of the mouth and as a result there is no stimulation for the palate. Palate doesn’t grow normally, the upper jaw doesn’t grow properly and the airways don’t develop properly. The upper arch becomes very constricted so the teeth won’t have enough room to erupt. And as a result, we see a either a lot of crowding or a couple of teeth will get stuck in the bone and they can’t come through.
In growing kids, it leads to downward and lower rotation of the face and facial disturbance. In adults, because the lower jaw is not sitting where it’s supposed to sit, a lot of people who mouth breathe end up with jaw joint problems and sleep apnea.
Research shows that establishing proper nasal breathing early in life will optimise the growth of the face. There are a lot of reasons for mouth breathing. Obviously the most important one is blocked nose. Blocked nose can be as a result of allergies, food intolerances. It can be as a result of large tonsils or adenoids or tongue-tie. So as I said, mouth breathing can affect general health and development of the face in growing kids. So keep an eye on yourself, keep an eye on your kids and keep the mouth shut.”
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