Treating Mouth Breathing

Knoxville and Maryville, TN

What is the Big Deal with Mouth Breathing?

Mouth breathing can completely alter how your child looks, specifically the skeletal development of a child, and completely disrupts airway development, which affects the amount of oxygen the body requires for proper function. We know that mouth breathing affects the resting position of the facial and tongue muscles. Often mouth breathers experience a wide variety of signs and symptoms from early development to consequences later in life. Unfortunately, mouth breathing affects your overall health. Mouth breathing affects the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide that are in the body. Our bodies rely on a specific amount of incoming oxygen and outgoing carbon dioxide to remain in a healthy state.

Breaking Your Mouth Breathing Habit:

Mouth breathing can completely alter how your child looks, specifically the skeletal development of a child, and completely disrupts airway development, which affects the amount of oxygen the body requires for proper function. We know that mouth breathing affects the resting position of the facial and tongue muscles. Often mouth breathers experience a wide variety of signs and symptoms from early development to consequences later in life. Unfortunately, mouth breathing affects your overall health. Mouth breathing affects the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide that are in the body. Our bodies rely on a specific amount of incoming oxygen and outgoing carbon dioxide to remain in a healthy state.

Why Should you Breathe Through the Nose?

It may seem like a contradiction at first, but shallower breathing that occurs through the nose is both more efficient and better for your overall health. This concept probably makes more sense when taking into account our prior examination of mouth breathing, but let’s examine this a bit further.

The air that comes in when inhaled through the nose is warmer and moister compared to when you mouth breathe. The extra warmth and moisture combine with nitric oxide, killing bacteria and dilating blood vessels in the airways, arteries, and capillaries. This dilating process, known as vasodilation, helps to regulate blood pressure while also increasing the surface area of the alveoli, which means the bloodstream absorbs a greater quantity of oxygen.

Nasal breathing also encourages production of nitric oxide, helping to increase the oxygen capacity of the lungs by as much as 15 percent. And, while keeping blood pressure low and regular, nasal breathing fosters a stronger connection between the heart and lungs via the nervous system. Nasal breathing balances the heart rate as well and encourages a person to have diminished biological responses in stressful situations.

Treatment for Mouth Breathing:

“Mouth Taping” is considered one of the go-to ways to alleviate mouth breathing. This treatment is known as both the French method and the Buteyko method and involves placing a very small piece of tape over the mouth at night, thus re-training the body to breathe through the nose during sleep. Crestview Dental Care recommends 3M micropore tape or Nexcare first aide clear tape for comfort.

“Mouth Taping” is successful, but far from foolproof. Its success rate can be weakened by environmental conditions such as keeping your sleep area too warm, pets in the bedroom or having too much dust in the bedroom—whether it be on clothes, bedding, or carpet. Often times patients build up to a nighttime routine by simply placing a small piece of tape on the mouth while watching TV, reading a book, working on the computer or even during their daytime routine at home.

Treating Children who Mouth Breathe: 

As we all know, it’s imperative to your children’s health to stop bad habits immediately when you see them begin, so parents can help their children avoid the pitfalls of mouth breathing by encouraging them to breathe with their lips and teeth together, and placing the tongue against the roof of the mouth. If your child has allergies or difficulty breathing through their nose, oftentimes we will refer you to see our Ear, Nose and Throat (E.N.T) specialist that will collaborate with us in determining the treatment plan that is right for your child.

Other aids against mouth breathing for children can be found in your local produce section. Feed your children raw and crunchy foods (avoid the soft diet), which exercises the jaw and helps it strengthen and develop while also helping develop wider airways and diminishing the chance of a narrow nasal passages—which can be a leading cause of snoring, sleep breathing disorders and even jaw development issues such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).

Mouth Breathing can Lead to:

  • Poor facial development (weak and tired look all the time)
  • Crooked teeth/crowded teeth
  • Recessive chin (short face and chin is sitting way back)
  • Long Face Syndrome (long forehead, skinny nose an flaccid lip)
  • Chronic fatigue (tired all the time, dark circles under he eyes)
  • ADHD/ADD in adults or children
  • Tongue thrust
  • Difficulties chewing and swallowing

Appliance Therapy for Mouth Breathing:

“Mouth Taping” is intended only as a training tool to help regain nasal breathing, which is the starting point to gaining a proper oral and nasal function by placing the lips together, teeth together and tongue pressed against the roof of the mouth.

Other therapies that may be used in conjunction or following nasal breathing training may be:

  • Oral appliance therapy (for sleep/TMD disorder)
  • Myofunctional therapy (tongue, habits and mouth muscle therapy)
  • Interceptive orthodontic appliances (intercede poor jaw development)
  • Frenum release (tongue/lip tie release)

At Crestview Dental Care, serving Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee, we not only screen for mouth breathing, but we also offer a wide variety of treatment therapies that are holistic and natural alternatives to care for your entire family’s oral and overall health care. Please contact Crestview Dental Care today by calling (865) 982-1700 to schedule a consultation.