Mouth Breathing: Mental, Physical and Emotional Consequences

Mouth Breathing

The most important function of the human body is breathing. The way we breathe can have a significant impact on our bodies. It is important to remember that every mouth breathing has the potential for a positive or negative effect on our bodies. If there is an obstruction to the airway, however, the breath may be diverted to the mouth.

Normal breathing involves the abdomen expanding and contracting with every inhalation and exhalation. The breath is effortless, it is regular and quiet, and, most importantly, it is through the nose. Normal breathing, or mouth breathing, is slower than normal and more audible.

It also includes visible movements of the upper chest. Normally, this type of breathing can only be seen in stressful situations. However, if a person continues to habitually breathe through their mouths, they may experience the adverse side effects of stress and over-breathing.

Habitual mouth breathing can have serious consequences for a person’s health and facial development. This article discusses nasal breathing and its advantages over mouth breathing. It also provides a self-help exercise that can be used to decongest your nose.

1. The Importance and Nasal Breathing of Nitric Oxide

There are many benefits to nasal breathing. This has been well documented. There is a complex filtering mechanism in the nose that purifies the air before it enters our lungs. Breathing through the nose during expiration helps to maintain lung volume and may also indirectly determine arterial oxygenation.

The production of nitric dioxide (NO) is one of the main reasons nasal breathing works. NO is present in human breath but very little is known about the source or origin. Normal human breath contains most of the NO. It can be found in the nose, where it can reach very high levels during breath-holding. This amazing molecule is thought to be produced in mammalian cells by specific enzymes.

It is believed to play an important role in many biological events, including the regulation of blood flow and platelet function, and neurotransmission. Although this gas is only produced in very small amounts, once it enters the lungs through the nose, it will travel down to the lower airways to the lungs.

There, it will aid in increasing arterial oxygen tension and thereby increase the lung’s ability to absorb oxygen. Nitric Oxide plays an important part in maintaining blood pressure, homeostasis, and immune defense, as well as neurotransmission.

2. Effects of mouth breathing

Habitual mouth breathing is, in contrast, the act of breathing in and out of the mouth continuously for long periods. It can also be done during sleep or rest.

It has been proven that adults who mouth-breathe are more likely than those who nose-breathe to suffer from sleep-disordered breathing, fatigue, and decreased productivity. Children are more susceptible to the negative effects of mouth breathing than adults. This is because the formative years are when the airways and orofacial structures develop.

If children’s mouth breathing is not treated for a long time, it can lead to lifelong respiratory problems, including a more attractive face. Malocclusions, such as a skeletal Class II, Class III or a long, lower face height (known as “long face syndrome”) can be a sign of poor mouth breathing. This can lead to a variety of craniofacial problems, including snoring, obstructive sleep disorder, and even a more severe form of asthma in children.

Fitzpatrick and colleagues conducted a study that demonstrated the importance of the soft palate in controlling nasal or oral airflow. According to the study, mouth breathing causes the soft palate to move against the posterior wall of the pharyngeal, closing the nasopharyngeal passageway. The opposite happens with nasal breathing. The soft palate moves anteriorly and inferiorly until it touches the dorsum of your tongue. This closes the oropharyngeal passageway.

This study also showed that the opening of the mouth in sleep was different in patients with sleep apnea and normal subjects. Even without oral airflow, mouth opening has been shown to increase the likelihood of the upper airway collapsing. Two possible explanations for this finding are jaw opening and posterior movement of jaw angle and compromise of oropharyngeal diameter.

Additionally, posterior and inferior movements of the mandible could shorten the upper-airway dilator muscles between the mandible & hyoid. This may compromise their contractile force and cause unfavorable length/tension relationships. It is therefore important to treat mouth breathing as such.

It has been observed that people are not aware of the harmful side effects of mouth breathing obstruction on facial growth and physiologic health. This can lead to confusion with (ADD) or hyperactivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is associated with a number of sleep disorders.

Sleepiness can cause differences in behavior between adults and children. Adults tend to be slow and sluggish after being tired, while children are more prone to speeding up and overcompensating. This is why sleep deprivation can sometimes be confused with ADHD in children. As a result, children may be aggressive, moody, emotionally explosive, and/or aggressive.

A study of 2,463 children aged 6-15 found that children with sleep problems were more likely than others to be inattentive and hyperactive, impulsive, and to display other disruptive behaviors.

A second study, published in the International Journal of Pediatrics, found that chronic mouth breathing can cause facial changes over time. It also has latent and immediate effects on multiple behavioral and physiological functions. This is why mouth breathing can have such a profound impact on children’s mental and physical health. It can lead to a reduction in the airways, poor sleep quality, cognitive dysfunction, and lower quality of living.

3. The Prevalence, Causes, and Physical Manifestations Of Mouth Breathing

Brazilian researchers found that mouth breathing was a common problem in children aged three to nine years old. Reported causes for mouth breathing were allergic rhinitis (81.4%), enlarged adenoids (79.2%), enlarged tonsils (12.6%), or obstructive deviation (1.0%).

Famous Mouth-breathers are most commonly manifested by: snoring (86%), itchy nose (77%), drooling (62%), and nocturnal or agitated sleeping (62%). There was also nasal obstruction (49%). Although allergic rhinitis can be a leading cause of respiratory obstruction, it is important to remember that when a person feels like they are being deprived of air, mouth breathing is the natural response.

Pereira and colleagues also found that mouth-breathing patients had orofacial changes such as half-open lips and lower tongue position, lip, cheek, tongue, and cheek hypotonicity, tongue interposition between the arches, and tongue positioning during deglutition.

3.1 The Effect of Low Tongue Position

The tongue is held in a downward position by a mouth breather, which creates airspace that allows for more freedom of breathing. This can cause abnormal tongue activity. An abnormal tongue activity can cause excessive force to the dentition when swallowing. This can lead to malocclusions in children and severe myofascial pain. Misdirection and displacement of the tongue can also lead to microscopic changes to the attachment apparatus, which can cause increased tooth mobility and worsening periodontal disease.

This low-toe resting position can also cause morphological changes in the orofacial structures. OMDs, also known as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders, may also develop. OMDs refers to disorders that affect the face and mouth. They can cause problems with chewing, swallowing, and speech.

3.2 The Effect of Low Tongue Position

The tongue is held in a downward position by a mouth breather, which creates airspace that allows for more freedom of breathing. This can cause abnormal tongue activity. An abnormal tongue activity can cause excessive force to the dentition when swallowing. This can lead to malocclusions in children and severe myofascial pain. Misdirection and displacement of the tongue can also lead to microscopic changes to the attachment apparatus, which can cause increased tooth mobility and worsening periodontal disease.

This low-toe resting position can also cause morphological changes in the orofacial structures. OMDs, also known as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders, may also develop. OMDs refers to disorders that affect the face and mouth. They can cause problems with chewing, swallowing, and speech.

OMDs refers to disorders that affect the face and mouth. They can impact, directly or indirectly, chewing, speaking, chewing, swallowing, and oral hygiene. Stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics, and facial skeletal growth are some other possible effects.

OMDs can take many forms: habitual or irregular nasal breathing, oral breathing, habitual open mouth posture and lack of lip sealing with patent nasal passages; restricted labial frenum from borderline to ankyloglossia; decreased upper lip movement; restricted lingual frenum, between borderline and ankyloglossia; low or forward tongue position at rest (static pose); inefficient chewing; malocclusion or disorders of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ); atypical swallowing With or without a tongue thrust (dynamic position); oral habits; the forward position of the skull at rest, chewing, and swallowing to name just a few.

Because its effects are more consistent than atypical swallowing, the resting position of the tongue is crucial. Mouth breathing encourages an incorrect position of the tongue (on top of the head), while nasal breathing places it in the correct resting place (on the roof). This aids in creating a lip seal.

Schmidt et. al. found that a proper tongue resting position (on top of the tongue) results in significant activity in the suprahyoid and temporal muscles, as well as significant decreases in heart rate variability compared to a lower tongue resting position (on the bottom of the tongue). A proper tongue resting position is crucial for maintaining orofacial balance.

3.3 Postural Issues

People who regularly breathe through their mouths may have postural problems, as well as abnormal swallowing patterns or facial characteristics. To compensate for their restricted airways, mouth breathers will adopt a typical posture and bring their heads forward to make breathing easier.

Okuro and colleagues found that mouth breathing negatively affected respiratory biomechanics, exercise capacity, and exercise capacity. They also discovered that moderate forward head posture was a compensatory mechanism to improve respiratory muscle function. This forward head position can lead to muscle fatigue, neck pain and tension in the temporomandibular joints area, spinal disc compression, early arthritic mouth breathing symptoms, tension headaches, and other problems.

4. Multidisciplinary approach

To achieve proper oronasal balance, the patient must be examined in its entirety using a multidisciplinary approach. It is essential to get information from parents/guardians during a medical interview ask questions about your child’s sleeping habits, such as if he/she sleeps with their open mouth breathing, nose breathing, concentration problems at school, sleepiness during the day and if they feel sleepy in the morning.

These questions are important in diagnosing oral breathing. While there is no test that can be used to diagnose mouth breathing, it is possible to observe the resting breathing patterns of an individual for at least three minutes. It may help with mouth breathing in adults and children.

Important to remember that data alone cannot diagnose mouth breathing accurately. It is important to perform the Glatzel metal plates test. This will determine how long the child keeps water in their mouths with their lips sealed, without swallowing, and can help diagnose mouth breathing.

A team of professionals, such as pediatricians, ear nose and throat doctors, orthodontists and dentists, dental hygienists, and myofunctional therapists, can help to stop the negative effects of mouth breathing.

Management of Nasal Congestion

To stop mouth breathing, it is important to manage and detect nasal congestion early. As mentioned, mouth breathing can result from a variety of causes including allergic rhinitis.

Because rhinitis is one of the most common causes of nasal obstructions, the most commonly used treatments for rhinitis are: decongestants and allergy shots, trigger avoidance, decongestants, and corticosteroids. These treatments may have some therapeutic benefits, but they are not always effective for everyone.

The individual will continue to use their breathing through the mouth, even after their nasal airways are cleared. This can lead to a vicious cycle that causes recurrent congestion. Although it might seem counterintuitive, nasal breathing is crucial for clearing the nose. It can also be used in conjunction with breathing exercises that open the airways such as the Buteyko Breathing Method.

A study was conducted to determine if the Buteyko Method is effective in treating chronic rhinitis in patients with asthma. It was developed by Dr. Konstantin Buteyko in the 1950s. The study validated several evaluations, including the Sinonasal Outcome Test. This test showed a 71% decrease in rhinitis mouth breather symptoms after three months.

The Buteyko Breathing Method includes a measurement appraisal called the Control Pause. This is a breathing exercise that unblocks the nose and reduces breathing exercises to restore normal breathing volume.

Nasal Decongestion Exercise

You can unblock your nose for allergic or non-allergic rhinitis with a breath-hold.

  • Let a quiet, small breath in through your nose and then let it out through the mouth.
  • To hold your breath, pinch your nose with your fingers.
  • Keep your breath open and walk as much as you can. You can build up an air shortage feeling, but not too much!
  • Do not breathe through your nose when you resume your normal breathing; your breathing must be regulated immediately.
  • Your first breath will likely be longer than normal after you resume your breathing. You can calm your breathing by stopping your second and third breaths.
  • This should take between two and three breaths to allow your breath to return to normal. If you are not able to recover from this breath-hold within two to three breaths, it is likely that your breath has been held too long.
  • Give it a minute and then go back to the beginning.
  • This exercise can be repeated five to six times until your nose becomes clear.

Conclusion – Mouth Breathing

It is important for doctors and dentists to evaluate mouth breathing in both children and adults. It is possible to reduce or even eliminate the negative effects of mouth breathing on facial and dental development. Healthcare professionals have the unique opportunity to examine patients’ habits of breathing through their mouths and offer life-changing advice.

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