How does Mouth Breathing affect my Dental Health?

Updated: Aug 27

myofunctional therapy

We all know brushing and flossing are important for a healthy mouth. However, there are some other things you can do to keep your smile in tip-top shape. Awareness of mouth breathing is the first step towards improving your oral health, overall health and appearance. While it may sound like a simple, involuntary act that’s not a huge deal, mouth breathing isn’t considered normal.

Breathing through your mouth instead of your nose usually only happens at certain times: when you have a cold or some type of chronic nasal obstruction. If you breathe through your mouth regularly, you should be aware of how it can negatively affect your smile and your health.

Mouth Breathing and Cavities

One of the biggest effects of mouth breathing is a decrease in the amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is a major player in neutralizing acids and eliminating harmful bacteria. Dry mouth syndrome is a result of mouth breathing and a side effect of some medications. Without saliva to protect your teeth, bacteria are free to attack tooth enamel, wearing away this protective layer of your teeth to expose the softer tissues underneath. This puts you at higher risk for cavities, chronic bad breath, and infections of the mouth. A dry mouth is a dangerous mouth, putting you at risk for some serious smile and health related problems.

Mouth Breathing and Gum Disease

Plaque is that smelly, slimy mix of bacteria and biofilm that you get after not brushing for a day. Really, in less than a couple of hours, but many don’t notice it until it’s been a day, or two, or three, depending on the person! The bacteria that make up the plaque release toxins. When plaque growth is uncontrolled, our gums become irritated and inflamed. Early gum disease is termed “gingivitis”. “Periodontal disease” is the term used for advanced gum disease. The gum inflammation is activating little cells that eat away the bone that surrounds your teeth. If the bacterial infection remains, the bone loss continues and eventually you lose teeth. Low saliva flow creates an acidic environment for the toxic bacteria in gum disease to thrive. Mouth breathing accelerates gingivitis and periodontal disease, with the potential for serious oral health problems linked to heart disease, pre-term low birth weight babies and diabetes. Even if you brush and floss regularly, mouth breathing disrupts the bacterial flora of your mouth. Learning to keep your lips together, and your mouth closed at all times, will increase your saliva flow creating a healthier mouth.

Do I have Gum Disease?

  • Do you have bleeding when you brush or floss?

  • Do you have chronic bad breath?

  • Do you have loose teeth?

  • Do you have a bad taste in your mouth?

  • Do you visit your dentist/dental hygienist twice a year to check the health of your gums?

  • Gum disease doesn’t hurt

How do you know if you are a Mouth Breather?

The common signs of mouth breathing include:

  • Dry lips

  • Crowded teeth

  • Snoring and open mouth while sleeping

  • Dry mouth when you wake up

  • Increased number of airway infections including sinus, ear, and colds

  • Chronic bad breath

If you’re suffering from mouth breathing and ready to eliminate this habit contact me for a free 30 minute Skype session. We’ll work together to determine what’s causing you to breathe out of your mouth and discuss the best way to fix it, not only for the health of your mouth, for your entire well-being.

If you are struggling with a mouth breathing habit, give me a call at (209) 327-2446 to set up a Free 30 Minute Skype Consultation. I’m here to help.


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