You may have heard the term “mouth breather” before. What you may not know, however, is that mouth breathing—even just during your sleep—can be a serious oral health issue. If you think you may be suffering from this condition, here are a few things you should know.
1. There are a few easy ways to know if you breathe through your mouth during the night.
Thankfully, this oral health issue can be easier to spot than you might think. If you wake up each morning with dry lips, this could be a sign. Chronic halitosis (or bad breath), snoring, crowded teeth, and an increased number of colds, sinus infections, and ear infections can also be indicative of mouth breathing. Therefore, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, you might consider bringing this to the attention of your dentist.
2. Mouth breathing can lead to tooth decay.
You may not be surprised to learn that mouth breathing has a major impact on your saliva production. When you breathe normally, your sinuses add moisture to the air you inhale. However, this does not occur when you breathe through your mouth, which causes your mouth to become dry. Dry mouth can change the acidity levels in your saliva and throw off the pH balance in your mouth. Ultimately, this makes a more corrosive environment for your teeth that can facilitate tooth decay. Not to mention, this lack of saliva production makes it more difficult to wash away harmful bacteria that wear down your teeth!
3. If you breathe through your mouth at night, you could be at greater risk for gum disease.
Without saliva to wash away the harmful bacteria in your mouth, these bacteria are left to flourish on your teeth and gums. Unfortunately, this does not only cause tooth decay, but it can lead to gingivitis as well. Gingivitis is an infection of the gums that, if left untreated, can ultimately lead to gum disease. Gum disease is a serious illness that can be quite detrimental to your overall health. It has been linked to health issues like respiratory illness, stroke, heart disease, and even complications with diabetes and pregnancy. This is just another reason why you do not want to leave mouth breathing unchecked!
4. Children who experience mouth breathing could be at risk for structural abnormalities.
Our bodies are designed to breathe through our noses. However, when children breathe through their mouth during their developmental years, it can cause their bodies to adapt to these new mechanisms. This can cause a child’s posture to change, their face to grow longer and narrower, their nose to become flat and small, and even their lips to change shape—all as a natural means to open up this new airway and facilitate their breathing mechanisms. It can even lead to “gummy” smiles and crooked teeth. Therefore, if you notice this occurring with your child in their sleep, be sure to call your dentist.
5. If you are a “mouth breather,” we can help!
Often times, dentists are the first to notice symptoms of mouth breathing—which can be anything from tooth decay, to gum infections, to swollen tonsils. Not only can we treat these sometimes-painful symptoms of mouth breathing, but we can also work with you to remedy the condition!
To combat these effects of mouth breathing and improve your quality of life, call Dental Roots in Naperville today!