Wellness

3 things to know about mouth breathing

Home Health Care

Every night while sleeping, thousands of Americans breath through their mouths instead of their nostrils. Mouth breathing can lead to snoring, dry mouth and restless sleep, which can affect how well you function the next day. Here are three things to know about mouth breathing.

  1. Common Causes– Nasal congestion and allergies are the primary cause of mouth breathing. They can lead to snoring, which can wake up the mouth-breather and anyone else trying to sleep nearby. Plus, did you know that nose breathing is healthier for you?Other reasons people mouth breath include:
    • Asthma– A condition in which airways become inflamed, swell and produce extra mucus, making it difficult to breathe.
    • Chronic colds– Most Americans have two to four colds a year. But constantly fighting a cold can create congestion and a chronic cough.
    • Deviated septum– Every year, more than 3 million people are diagnosed with a deviated septum, which is a bend in the thin wall separating the right and left nasal passages. People usually develop this condition during pregnancy, or from an injury to the nose.
    • Chronic colds – Most Americans have two to four colds a year. But constantly fighting a cold can create congestion and a chronic cough.
    • Enlarged tonsils– Located in the back of the throat, enlarged tonsils can be a hereditary condition, or caused by inflammation from an infection.
    • Genetic abnormalities– Unique physical characteristics, such as cleft palate or tongue-tie, can create breathing problems.
    • Jaw misalignment– Bite problems can put pressure on the jaw and lead to mouth breathing.
    • Chronic colds – Most Americans have two to four colds a year. But constantly fighting a cold can create congestion and a chronic cough.
    • Sinus polyps– These are soft, noncancerous growths in the lining of the nasal passages or sinuses. Polyps can develop from asthma or infections.
    • Thumb sucking– Children who suck their thumbs or fingers as a soothing way to help them sleep can become mouth breathers.
  2. Symptoms– In addition to snoring and interrupted sleep patterns, mouth-breathers can show several other characteristics:
    • Dental problems, including jaw pain, bruxism, irregular bite
    • Bad breath, mouth odor
    • Swallowing difficulties, noisy eating
    • Speech problems
    • Dry mouth, sore throat, hoarse voice
    • Fatigue, crankiness
    • Snoring, choking while sleeping
    • Stuffy, runny nose
  3. Treatment Options– A medical professional can identify the cause of mouth breathing and determine the best treatment option, which could include:
    • Dental procedures or appliances to fix jaw and bite problems, teeth grinding
    • Medications for allergies, asthma, nasal drainage
    • Surgery to:
      • Remove polyps, enlarged tonsils
      • Repair a deviated septum, genetic abnormality
      • Widen sinus passages to open airways
    • Breathing exercises to retrain yourself to nose breath
    • CPAP machine to help you breathe at night (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)

Sources:
Normal Breathing
Healthline

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