Free Shipping Australia Wide!

The Negative Effects of Mouth Breathing on Health and Well-Being

Breathing is a fundamental and involuntary process that sustains life by supplying oxygen to the body's cells and removing carbon dioxide. While breathing through the nose is the natural and preferred way for humans to breathe, mouth breathing is a common issue that can have several negative effects on both physical health and overall well-being. In this article, we will explore the detrimental consequences of mouth breathing and its impact on various aspects of health. We will also discuss potential causes and treatment options to address this concern.

The Importance of Nasal Breathing

Before delving into the negative effects of mouth breathing, it is essential to understand the significance of nasal breathing. The nose plays a critical role in the respiratory process, serving as a filtration system, humidifier, and temperature regulator for the air we breathe. Here are some key functions of nasal breathing:

  1. Filtration: The nasal passages act as a natural filter, trapping particles, allergens, and pollutants present in the air. This helps prevent harmful substances from entering the respiratory system and causing potential damage.

  2. Humidification: Nasal breathing adds moisture to the air, which is essential for preventing dryness in the respiratory tract. This helps maintain the optimal moisture level for the lungs and minimizes irritation.

  3. Warming: The nasal passages warm the air as it enters the body, making it easier for the lungs to process and reducing the risk of cold-induced respiratory issues.

  4. Nitric Oxide Production: Nasal breathing facilitates the release of nitric oxide, a gas that helps dilate blood vessels, improves oxygen uptake in the blood, and has antibacterial properties.

  5. Enhanced Lung Function: Nasal breathing engages the diaphragm and improves lung capacity, making it more efficient than mouth breathing, which often involves shallow breaths.

The Negative Effects of Mouth Breathing

Now that we have established the importance of nasal breathing, let's explore the negative effects of mouth breathing:

  1. Reduced Oxygen Intake: Mouth breathing often involves shallow and rapid breaths, which can lead to decreased oxygen intake compared to nasal breathing. This may result in less efficient oxygenation of the bloodstream and body tissues, potentially leading to fatigue and decreased cognitive function.

  2. Increased Risk of Respiratory Infections: Mouth breathing bypasses the natural filtration and humidification provided by the nasal passages, making it easier for harmful particles, allergens, and pathogens to enter the respiratory system and potentially cause infections. Research has shown that nasal breathing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections, as the nose acts as a barrier against pathogens.

  3. Dry Mouth and Oral Health Issues: Breathing through the mouth can lead to dryness in the mouth and throat, reducing saliva production. Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health, and reduced levels can increase the risk of dental problems like cavities and gum disease.

  4. Bad Breath (Halitosis): Mouth breathing can contribute to bad breath due to the lack of filtering and cleansing effect that nasal breathing provides. The absence of nitric oxide production in the nasal passages during mouth breathing may also contribute to this issue.

  5. Dental and Facial Developmental Issues: Habitual mouth breathing, particularly during childhood when the facial bones are still developing, may lead to malocclusion (misaligned teeth) and changes in facial structure. This can result in an elongated face, high palate, and narrower airway passages.

  6. Sleep Disturbances: Mouth breathing can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to sleep-related issues like snoring and sleep apnea. Individuals who primarily breathe through their mouths during sleep are at a higher risk of experiencing obstructive sleep apnea, a condition characterized by brief pauses in breathing during sleep.

  7. Dry, Irritated Throat: The constant flow of dry air over the back of the throat can cause irritation and discomfort, leading to a sore throat and an increased susceptibility to respiratory infections.

  8. Impaired Sense of Smell: Since mouth breathing bypasses the nasal passages, it can reduce the ability to smell and detect scents. The olfactory nerve, responsible for our sense of smell, is better stimulated when breathing through the nose.

  9. Increased Risk of Asthma Symptoms: Studies suggest that mouth breathing may worsen symptoms in people with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Asthmatics who predominantly breathe through their mouths are more likely to experience exacerbations and have decreased control over their condition.

  10. Anxiety and Stress: Chronic mouth breathing can trigger a stress response in the body, leading to feelings of anxiety and heightened arousal. Proper nasal breathing, on the other hand, can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing a relaxation response.

  11. Reduced Physical Performance: Mouth breathing during physical activities can lead to inefficient breathing patterns, reducing endurance and overall athletic performance. Nasal breathing, which allows for better oxygen absorption, can enhance exercise efficiency and stamina.

  12. Negative Impact on Facial Aesthetics: Mouth breathing may contribute to the development of long facial features, such as an elongated face, drooping lips, and a narrow jawline. These changes can affect appearance and self-esteem.

Potential Causes of Mouth Breathing

Several factors can contribute to mouth breathing:

  1. Nasal Congestion: Chronic nasal congestion due to allergies, sinusitis, or anatomical issues can make it difficult to breathe through the nose, leading to compensatory mouth breathing.

  2. Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids: In children, enlarged tonsils and adenoids can obstruct the nasal passages, forcing them to breathe through their mouths.

  3. Chronic Allergies: Allergic reactions can cause nasal congestion and inflammation, making nasal breathing challenging.

  4. Habitual Mouth Breathing: Prolonged mouth breathing can become a habit, especially in individuals who have been mouth breathers since childhood.

Treatment Options for Mouth Breathing

The treatment of mouth breathing depends on its underlying cause:

  1. Addressing Nasal Issues: If chronic allergies or sinusitis are causing nasal congestion, proper medical management can help alleviate the condition and promote nasal breathing.

  2. Tonsil and Adenoid Removal: In cases where enlarged tonsils and adenoids are obstructing the nasal passages, surgical removal may be necessary.

  3. Oral Myofunctional Therapy: This therapy aims to retrain the tongue and facial muscles to maintain proper oral posture and encourage nasal breathing.

  4. Breathing Exercises: Specific breathing exercises can help individuals transition from mouth breathing to nasal breathing.

  5. Breathing Retrainers: Devices like nasal strips and breathing trainers may aid in developing nasal breathing habits during sleep and physical activities.

  6. Orthodontic Treatment: In cases of dental and facial developmental issues resulting from mouth breathing, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to realign the teeth and jaw.

  7. Mouth Tape: The easiest way to prevent mouth breathing is to tape your mouth closed while you sleep.
You can view our mouth tape for sleeping here


    Mouth breathing can have significant negative effects on health and well-being, ranging from reduced oxygen intake and increased risk of respiratory infections to dental and facial developmental issues. It is crucial to recognize the potential causes of mouth breathing and seek appropriate treatment to address the issue. Encouraging proper nasal breathing through medical intervention, breathing exercises, and oral myofunctional therapy can lead to improved overall health and a better quality of life. If you or someone you know is a habitual mouth breather, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance on the best course

    ← Older Post Newer Post →