What Causes Mouth Breathing?
People mouth breathe for one or more of three reasons:
- They cannot get enough air through their nose to get the amount of oxygen necessary
- There is an airway obstruction such as a tongue blocking the airway during sleep
- out of habit. Some people for various started mouth breathing and for whatever reason the bad habit persists.
Top 12 Things to Consider about Mouth Breathing:
- The cause of mouth breathing is the inability to meet oxygen demands when nose breathing. Literally if you cannot huff and puff enough air through the nose, you will need to open the mouth because it is a bigger hole.
- Structural issues within the nose can sometimes be the issue. Maybe the nose never grew large enough during child growth and development. Now enough air cannot be taken in by volume through the nose to meet basic oxygen demands for live processes.
- Trauma to the nose such as a blow to the nose causing a deformation where the nasal passageways are now smaller. This usually needs to be corrected with surgery by and ENT (ear nose and throat) doctor.
- Seasonal Allergies can cause acute congestion in the nose.
- Getting a Cold or Flu virus can lead to temporary nasal obstruction.
- Perhaps the nasal passageways are open and functioning properly. If there is an obstruction in another part of the airway it can be very difficult for people to get enough air through the nose and they may need to mouth breathe because a much larger volume of air can be taken in through the mouth as compared to the nose. The space in the mouth is much larger than the spaces in the nasal passageways.
- The Tongue is the primary moving part in the mouth. When the tongue does not have enough room to fit passively in the mouth, it will have a low posture and will relax during deep sleep and fall back into the throat. The tongue can cause airway obstructions during sleep. Airway obstructions make it difficult to avoid mouth breathing.
- The tongue causes nearly all obstructions during sleep.
- Habitual mouth breathing can be corrected with mouth taping, myofunctional therapy and “Mewing.” The best kind of tape for mouth taping is “Myo tape.”
- Mouth breathing related to structural issues cannot be corrected by mouth taping alone. The structural issues will need to be addressed with dental expanders and or jaw surgery.
- The tongue needs to be trained to stay in the mouth and suctioned onto the palate. That is what myofunctional therapy is all about. If the tongue is on the palate, mouth breathing is impossible because the tongue blocks air from coming in or out of the mouth.
- Nasal breathing can be improved and the size in the mouth can be increased with palatal expanders.
How to Fix Mouth Breathing Video
Ideal Tongue posture with Suction onto the Palate
The first step to nose breathing is to put the tongue on the palate. It is impossible to mouth breath because the tongue blocks airflow through the mouth. Tongue ties can create resistance for proper tongue movement and form. Tongue ties often need to be released to correct mouth breathing. Myofunctional therapy can be done to improve the function of the tongue, lips and other facial muscles involved in breathing, chewing and head and neck posture.
What is a Palatal Expander?
A palate expander is an orthodontic device that stimulates the mouth and jaws to grow larger. Mouth expanders can be used to create more space so the teeth can fit better. More space helps with mouth breathing during sleep and nasal stuffiness. A benefit of of receiving expanders during childhood is that we can take full advantage of a child’s natural growth to prevent problems such as mouth breathing, mouth breather face and bad bites. Jaw expanders are usually used for kids to create more space so all the teeth can be straightened.
Adult expanders can be used to treat sleep apnea and TMJ problems. The most popular adult expanders are Vivos appliances and Homeoblock devices.
How Palate Expanders Work
Expanders come in many different shapes and sizes depending on the condition that needs to be corrected. Some expanders are cosmetic, but we are looking for ones that change the shape of the mouth to work better. Usually ones that open the palate up to be the shape of the tongue. Often, palatal expanders are used in combination with braces, but the purpose of expanders with braces is totally different. Expanders are custom made to put light pressure in the direction the jaws need to grow. The tension at the interface of the teeth and jaw bones gradually grows the jaws to the desired shape. The expanders are worn only at night and do not hurt. The appliances look like retainers and are comfortable.
Fix Habitual Mouth Breathing with Myo Taping
Mouth taping can break the bad breathing habit. Mouth tapping is a useful tool. Start taping your mouth for periods of time during the day. Try 10 – 30 minutes with the Myo tape. Finally try 1-2 hours while reading or working. Then try light activity to see if it is doable. Then you can try taping a night. If the tape cannot be tolerated during sleep, then structural problems still exist with the size of the airway, function of the tongue or the strength of the muscles in the lower airway.
Fix Mouth Breathing with Mouth Taping Video