You very likely breathe without thinking about it. Your body does it automatically, without much, if any conscious effort on your behalf. But it’s important to pay attention to how you breathe. In general, it’s healthier to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. That’s because nose breathing is more natural and helps your body effectively use the air you inhale. Yet, it’s estimated that about 30-50% adults breathe through their mouth, especially earlier in the day. This could potentially lead to health issues like bad breath and dry mouth.
Chronic mouth breathing is associated with several health complications. While a person will not necessarily experience all these complications, they can have some. Complications caused by mouth breathing can include:
- greater risk for dental complications, such as decay and gum disease, bad breath
- higher incidence of snoring and sleep apnea
- problems with their jaw joints
- speech and swallowing difficulties
- teeth that do not fit together properly due to an affected bite
- enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- worsening of asthma symptoms
Most people can seek treatment before their symptoms worsen and they experience any long-term complications. Since humans are designed to breathe through their noses when they try to breathe out of their mouths, their posture must change to keep the airway open. This may cause developmental problems, especially in children who are prone to mouth breathing. When a child is breathing from his or her mouth, they probably won’t identify a problem since it is their norm. However, if left undiagnosed and untreated, the face can begin to grow long and narrow, the nose can become flat and the nostrils small, and the lips can be thin on top and quite pouty on the bottom. This, in addition to the other negative effects to oral health, shows that mouth breathing is a whole-body problem and should be treated as early as possible.
What Are The Benefits Of Breathing Through Your Nose?
Since your nose was specifically designed to help you breathe, nasal breathing has many advantages.
Nose breathing is beneficial primarily because it allows your nasal cavities to:
- reduce exposure to foreign substances
- humidify and warm inhaled air
- increase air flow to arteries, veins, and nerves
- increase oxygen uptake and circulation
- slow down breathing
- improve lung volume
- help your diaphragm work properly
- lower your risk of allergies and hay fever
- reduce your risk of coughing
- aid your immune system
- lower your risk of snoring and sleep apnoea
- support the correct formation of teeth and mouth
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art James Nestor
There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. In Breath, journalist James Nestor travels the world to discover the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale, and exhale can:
- jump-start athletic performance
- rejuvenate internal organs
- halt snoring, allergies, asthma, and autoimmune disease,
- and even straighten scoliotic spines.
None of this should be possible, and yet it is.
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