We all know brushing and flossing are important for a healthy mouth. However, there are some other things that are important to do, and to avoid, to keep your smile in tip-top shape. One of the things to avoid doing a lot is breathing through your mouth. While it may sound like a simple, involuntary act that’s not a huge deal, at my dental office in Chapel Hill, we want to let you know just how mouth breathing impacts dental health.
Breathing out of your mouth instead of your nose is sometimes caused by an underlying issue with your nasal passage. Chronic nasal obstruction (CNO) is the main reason people mouth breathe. When not enough oxygen gets into our lungs by breathing through the nose, we resort to the next best thing – mouth breathing.
Mouth breathing may lead to some serious oral health concerns. Since breathing out of your mouth dries it out, the amount of saliva decreases, which is a big problem. Saliva is important to ridding your mouth of harmful bacteria and neutralizing acids. When not enough saliva is produced, your chance of tooth decay and other dangerous problems increases.
A dry mouth is a dangerous mouth. Not only can a chronically dry mouth lead to bad breath and increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities, it can also put you at risk for gum disease and gingivitis. Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that has been linked to whole-body issues like heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease.
Mouth breathing may also lead to allergies, poor sleep, lower oxygen concentration in the blood, and facial deformities in children. Since breathing through the mouth requires a change in posture to keep the airway open, when children are mouth breathers and it’s not caught, their faces can begin to develop into a long, narrow shape with a flattened nose and short upper lip and pouty lower lip. Breathing out of your mouth may also lead to crooked teeth, gummy smiles, headaches, and sore throats.
How do you know if you’re a mouth breather?
There are some common signs and symptoms of being a mouth breather. Some of them include:
- Dry lips
- Crowded teeth
- Snoring and open mouth while sleeping
- Increased number of airway infections including sinus, ear, colds
- Chronic bad breath
Your dentist in Chapel Hill can also tell if you breathe out of your mouth, which makes regular appointments even more important.
If you’re suffering from mouth breathing and are ready to fix the problem, give my Chapel Hill dental office a call. We’ll work together to determine what’s causing you to breathe out of your mouth and discuss the best way to fix it, not only for the health of your mouth, for your entire well being.
Serving patients in Chapel Hill, Durham, and Pittsboro.