Attention All Mouth Breathers

Frequently Asked Questions

It is important to breathe through your nose because your nose makes a gas called nitric oxide and sinus mucous membranes. This gas increase oxygen absorption in your lungs by 10-25% and is produced in small amounts, but when inhaled into the lungs the capacity to absorb oxygen, Nitric oxide also can kill bacteria, viruses and other germs.

During workouts inhaling and exhaling through your nose is very important. This is why you often hear fitness and yoga instructors emphasise it. Your smell and taste buds are connected so if you can’t breathe well through your nose, your sense of smell will suffer and therefore your sense of taste. Your appetite and satiation levels can be disturbed wreaking havoc on those struggling with weight issues.

The nose has a vital nervous system that is also connected to your lungs and heart. You can increase your stress responses and also alter your heart rate and blood pressure by not breathing well through your nose. 2 pints of mucous gets produced by your nose every day. Bad breath, ear infection and other infections such as sinusitis is caused by stagnant mucous because your nose isn’t working properly and mucous isn’t cleared. 

You can suffer from snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by not breathing well through your nose. Nasal congestion alone doesn’t cause obstructive sleep apnea, but it can definitely aggravate it. A stuffy nose can aggravate further collapse downstream if your palate and tongue structures are predisposed, then it falls back easily due to sleeping on your back and muscle relaxation in deep sleep takes place. 

The following conditions can lead to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) when you leave it untreated - chronic fatigue, weight gain, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Try to figure out what’s blocking up your nose so that you can stop mouth breathing.

Everyone experiences nasal congestion now and again. It’s important to explore the various reasons so that you can try to prevent this from happening and to get behind why and when this occurs.

Deviated Septum

By definition everyone has a slightly crooked (deviated) nasal septum. The way your nose developed or it’s caused by a trauma can be a reasons for having a deviated septum. What’s happening in front of and around your septum is more important than how deviated your septum is.

Wings in Your Nose 

Opposite the midline nasal septum you get the sidewalls of the nasal cavity that is attached to the turbinates that are wing-like structures. They are enlarged and produce mucous when inflamed but they are normally smooth, warm, humidify, and filter the air that you breathe. The nasal cycle is when turbinate’s also swell and shrink alternating from side to side, and this process is called the neurologic process.

Is It An Infection or Allergies?

Your nose will get clogged up with lots of mucous production if there is any kind of infection, allergies, or even just a cold and then your turbinates will swell up. Bacterial vs. viral infections has no relation to the colour of the mucous.

Flimsy Nostrils

Depending on the configuration of your nose if you have inflammation and swelling on the inside of your nose, your nostrils can literally cave in as you inhale. Various nostril thicknesses have differently shaped nostrils with different noses. Your nostrils can cave in if you have a narrower nose. People who undergo cosmetic rhinoplasty for narrowing the nose are more at risk years later, because it can weaken the support structures of the nose.

A Nervous Nose?

Pressure changes and Weather changes like temperature can affect some people’s noses who are extra sensitive. Certain chemicals, scents and odours can set off a reaction as well. Your nasal nervous system may over-reacting to the weather or to odours and then many people mistakenly think this is an allergy reaction. Your senses can be heighten from a low-grade stress response and this is caused by poor quality of sleep.

It’s All under Your Nose

A chronically stuffy nose is usually part of a bigger picture and doesn’t happen by itself. In addition to a narrower nasal cavity the entire upper and lower jaw is more narrow and constricted. Our jaws are much narrower than normal due to modern human’s eating mushy, soft, processed foods, with dental crowding. To aggravate this problem with another modern way is Bottle-feeding. Due to muscle relaxation when in deep sleep, you can aggravate soft palate and tongue collapse if you have a stuffy nose. More stomach juices are suctioned up into the nose and the throat with more obstruction, causing more nasal congestion and swelling. All of this from a more smaller and narrow jaw.

When a child snores, mouth breathes, grinds or clenches their teeth while sleeping, it is all signs of having sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea.

Mouth breathing can affect how your child develops, child behaviour and their personality, as well as who they will be when they become adults. Mouth breathing can have serious effects on the development of the face and airway.

If nasal breathing is blocked, the facial and dental development can be abnormal. Untreated mouth breathing can lead to the development of long, narrow face, crooked teeth, a receded jaw and future TMD and headaches. The airway can be obstructed easily when the jaw and airway do not fully develop.

In the deep sleep stage the muscles completely relax, around the airway and collapse. The airways are tight, and are often made tighter by tonsils and adenoids in children as well as infants.

When the airway gets obstructed, the brain cannot stay in a deep sleep state and goes into a lighter sleep stage in order to grind and clench teeth and push the jaw forward, to make breathing easier again.

Grinding and clenching is the body’s way of opening the airway while sleeping to start breathing. This is also a sign for catching sleep apnea early on.

While one is in a deep sleep, human growth hormone (HGH) is released, that is essential for a child’s brain development and long bone growth. When deep sleep is interrupted, the secretion of this hormone stops. When there is not enough of this hormone that gets secreted your child’s growth and brain development will get stunt.

When the body is in a deep sleep, the body can restore, repair and heal from the stresses of the day. Memory and learning is consolidated and cemented. Other hormones that control appetite and other important functions are regulated and stabilized in this stage.

When children are deprived of sleep they can be hyperactive because of adrenaline used to compensate for their sleepiness. They struggle to achieve their academic potential as their brains and bodies do not perform at their best with their deep sleep-deprived state. These children are often diagnosed with ADHD and behavioural issues. They also have lowered immune systems, overweight and poor health.

  • Check that your child can breathe easily through their nose
  • Child has been to a dentist by age 1, and that he can identify mouth breathing and the symptoms. If there is mouth breathing present, ask to be referred to an orthodontist.
  • See that your child gets treated for allergies, as it can cause children to mouth breath
  • See that the child’s diet and environment does not contribute to any allergies.
Sharon Izak Elaine Chat staff