Does Being a Mouth Breather Impact Your Oral Health?
Breathing through the nose may come naturally to some people, but not to a mouth breather. Learn more about the effects of mouth breathing on your teeth and gums.
Over the past few years, TikTokers have been losing it over the discovery that long-term mouth breathing might be causing their . More people are trying mewing and mouth-taping to undo its negative effects and get sharper jawlines. But the dangers of being a mouth breather go beyond mere cosmetic concerns, such as gum disease and bad breath.
How Mouth Breathing Impacts Your Oral Health
Are your ? Do you often catch yourself with your mouth open for no reason? If yes, you’re probably a mouth breather. This habit can stem from an underlying medical condition that leads to a blockage or restriction in the nasal cavities. Disorders like sinusitis, allergies, tonsillitis, or a deviated septum can contribute, affecting your breathing patterns and oral health. The condition could lead to the following:
Wondering why your breath smells so bad? Your saliva plays an important role in oral hygiene. It makes your meals taste better, flushes out food debris, and neutralizes acids. When you breathe through the mouth instead of the nose, the air dries your saliva faster than your body can produce it. As a result, bacteria in your mouth multiply and release foul-smelling compounds.
Crooked or crowded teeth
notes that mouth breathing is associated with dental malocclusion, a.k.a. misaligned teeth. Your tongue rests on the roof of your mouth when you’re not eating or talking. However, mouth breathers unknowingly rest their tongues in a lower position, which hampers upper jaw development. This leads to a narrower dental arch and crooked teeth that protrude outward.
Cavities and gum disease
As mentioned above, the more often you breathe through your mouth, the drier your mouth gets. This spells trouble for your overall dental health since the decrease in saliva allows acids and sugar from food to linger in your mouth.
According to , mouth breathers have a higher risk of developing cavities because of the overgrowth of Streptococcus mutans, a type of bacteria that feeds on sugar and forms plaque. It produces acids that contain toxins, which can also .
How to Prevent the Negative Effects of Mouth Breathing
Consult an ENT specialist to get to the root cause of mouth breathing and, hopefully, reverse any negative effects. In the meantime, practice proper oral care and make these minor lifestyle adjustments.
1. Brush up on your toothbrushing technique
suggests simply swiping your toothbrush from side to side may not effectively remove plaque, contrary to popular belief. Instead, dental experts recommend a more effective brushing technique. Positioning the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and using a rolling motion can help clean the teeth thoroughly without causing harm to delicate gum tissues.
Moreover, choose a fluoride toothpaste like closeup Red Hot Toothpaste to protect the enamel from acid attacks. Plus, it gives you all-day fresh breath, thanks to its Antibacterial Zinc that fights up to 99.9% of bacteria.
2. Drink water after eating or snacking
Increasing your fluid intake is the simplest way to replenish saliva. Drinking water helps cleanse your palate and washes away food remnants stuck between your teeth. It’s also an effective bad breath remedy for when you can’t sneak away to brush, as it decreases bacteria in your mouth. So, don't forget to drink up the next time you have some garlic bread.
3. Recalibrate your breathing patterns
There’s no magic solution to curb a mouth-breathing habit. Nevertheless, it’s worth paying attention to your daily breathing patterns. Begin by inhaling and exhaling through your nose while watching TV or eating. If you have a stuffy nose, use a nasal saline spray or rinse to clear the mucus.
While sleeping, elevate your head with an extra pillow to encourage nasal breathing and reduce snoring. Wear a smartwatch to monitor your oxygen levels and ensure adequate oxygen intake.
If you suspect you’re a mouth breather, it’s time to prioritize your oral health. Practice good dental hygiene and be patient with yourself – don’t forget to celebrate small victories along the way.