Mouth Breathing and Dental Health

You may not think a lot about how you are breathing, but how you intake air can affect things in a negative way, specifically if you mainly breathe through your mouth. Mouth breathing and dental health definitely go hand in hand.  Quite of few of us experience allergies, especially here in Wisconsin, and that tends to plug us up as if we have a cold leading to breathing through the mouth. Many people also have obstructed nasal passages (me included) from a deviated septum or other reasons and we tend to favor breathing through our mouths just for the fact that we get more air ingestion that way. If you are a mouth breather, and you probably know it if you are, it’s not a good thing for a number of reasons, a lot of them being dental related.

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Mouth breathers have an increased buildup of plaque on their teeth along with gingivitis and bad breath. Our mouths need saliva flow to keep them healthy and when we breathe through our mouths, everything is getting dried out leading to heightened plaque, irritated gums and cavities. Unfortunately, 85% of people who breathe through their mouths are doing it involuntary just because that is the way they are used to breathing due to nasal problems or allergies. If you are a mouth breather, mention it to your dental provider so suggestions can be made to improve your oral health.

When breathing through our noses, our tongues rest on the roof of the mouth. This keeps everything in place; teeth, gums, cheek tissue. When we breathe through our mouths, our tongue does not rest on the roof of the mouth to allow for oxygen flow. This, believe it or not, can change our posture to allow for better air intake through the mouth and can cause problems with our necks and backs because you tend to hold your head forward of your shoulders and tilt it back. Not having the tongue on the roof of the mouth while at rest can also reshape the structure of our mouths and teeth, especially if it is a child still growing. That tongue plays an6 important part in maintaining facial structure and teeth alignment.

Usually you will see your dentist after the effects of mouth breathing due to cavities that may occur because of dryness or a referral is needed to an orthodontist to realign teeth or the jaw. The main thing that you need to do if you are a mouth breather is to go see a specialist at an Ear Nose and Throat facility. They will help you with any nasal obstruction issues or allergies. This way the problem is focused and if need be, talk to your dentist about any problems it has caused within your mouth. It’s still very important to visit your dentist regularly (every 6 months or more if need be) to make sure you get in for your check ups and cleanings to keep everything in check.

Information compiled from Wikipedia, tmjorthocenter.com and staff at Szmanda Dental Center 2014