Why is it Important to Breathe Through Your Nose Instead of Your Mouth


nose vs mouth breathing


Breathing properly is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. And it all starts with nose breathing instead of mouth breathing. People who nasal breathe are much less likely to suffer from poor childhood development, sleep apnea, teeth clenching, poor posture, thyroid problems and bad facial profile. That is just to name a few. If you are a mouth breather, we can do a lot to help you begin to breath through your nose and stop mouth breathing. And correct many other problems such as tongue tie, bruxism and sleep and posture problems.


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The Nose Filters Heats and Humidifies Air


As air is inhaled through the nasal membranes dust and dirt are filtered and removed. The air is also heated up and humidified. Air that is hot, clean and humidified is quickly absorbed by the lungs. Nasal breathing also oxygenates the nasal membranes and sinuses. Oxygen kills anaerobic bacteria that cause sinus and nose infections. Oxygen promotes growth of healthy bacteria in the nose and sinuses. In people who nose breathe their immune system works better and they get less bacterial and viral infections.


Nose vs Mouth Breathing


mouth breathing posture


Nasal breathing promotes healthy growth and development starting at a very young age. Nose breathing variably uses muscle groups in the ribs, shoulders, neck and face. Healthy coordinated muscle patterns during breathing support good upright comfortable posture.

Mouth breathing uses a different muscle pattern than nasal breathing.  Mouth breathing causes people to slouch and have forward head posture. People who mouth breath end up with crooked smiles, poor airways, bad posture, sleep problems and bruxism. This is because muscle patterns used during mouth breathing cause the bones in the face, chest, back and neck to grow to be the wrong size and shape. Muscle pressure stimulates our bones to grow to a certain size and shape.


What Causes Mouth Breathing?


tongue tie ankylglossia


Poor tongue function at a young age is what creates a mouth breather. The tongue during growth and development applies pressure on the hard palate and the upper teeth. Tongue pressure literally grows the palate wider by pressing on it during swallowing and speech. The palate, a part of the maxillary bone, is the bottom of the nose. When the palate grows wider, people can fit more air through the bigger nasal spaces. If people can get enough oxygen through their nose, they will not open their mouth to breathe. If the nasal passageways are too small people will not get enough oxygen through their nose. They will be forced to open their mouth to get more air. The mouth is a large space.


What Causes a Tongue to Function Incorrectly?


Poor tongue function is most often caused by tied tongue or a condition called ankyloglossia. Tongue tie causes loss of range of motion of the tongue. A tied tongue does not extend our as far and cannot elevate into the palate as easily. Tied tongues often do not spread out as wide and they get pointy and curl down when they are pushed out of the mouth. There is a sequential cause and effect relationship in the following order:

  1. Tongue Tie
  2. Poor Tongue Function
  3. Under Development of the Palate and Nasal Passageways
  4. Poor Nasal Breathing
  5. Mouth Breathing


deep palate vault vs normal palate


Untying the Tongue Assists in Nose Breathing


small nasal passage for breathing


People who do not have tongue and lip ties and who have healthy tongue function will not be mouth breathers. Reread that again. If you have proper tongue function, you will not be a mouth breather. Ultimately tongue and lip ties cause all upper airway problems during infant and child growth and development. There is a cause and effect relationship between tongue tie, poor tongue function and mouth breathing.


How to Treat Tongue Tie


Tongues can be easily untied with the use of a laser and a knowledgeable dentist. It is important to have a tongue untied and proper function verified at the time of the procedure. The dentist should note how the tongue function is deficient. Untie the tongue. And finally verify proper function has been restored. This is called a “functional untie.”


Myofunctional Therapy


Myofunctional therapy is basically physical therapy for tongues. Tongue training and exercises to achieve proper function. Don’t expect the tongue to automatically function perfectly after being untied. When myofunctional therapy is done with a functional untie the rate of reattachment is less than 20%. When tongue untie procedures are not performed in conjunction with the therapy, the reattachment rate is closer to 80%.


How to Treat Mouth Breathers?


  1. Evaluation Mouth vs Nasal Breathing
  2. Remove all Tongue and Lip Ties
  3. Tongue Exercises and Myofunctional Therapy
  4. Evaluate Facial and Jaw Structures – Design and create orthodontic growth appliances such as palatal expanders
  5. Evaluate posture and initiate posture restoration with a chiropractor or qualified physical therapist
  6. Evaluate Breathing patterns and incorporate breathing exercises to restore proper nasal breathing patterns





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