In 2012 there was an “International Breathe through your nose week”!
Many people thought it was a joke! But learning to breathe through your nose rather than
your mouth could be the most important thing that you ever do for your health
and your good looks!
Nasal breathing is healthier than mouth breathing for several reasons. Our lungs take oxygen from the air, and absorption of oxygen happens mostly on exhalation. Exhaling through the nose, which is smaller than the mouth, creates greater air pressure and therefore a slower exhalation. This gives the lungs extra time to extract a greater amount of oxygen.
Breathing through the mouth is inefficient and can lead to hyperventilation. This, in turn, causes or worsens symptoms of asthma, heart disease and high blood pressure.
The nostrils and sinuses play a part in filtering and warming the air that is inhaled into the lungs. This filtering effect is helpful in keeping bacteria and particles out of your body. Breathing through the nose prevents cold air from going straight to our lungs and causing chest and throat pain.
Allergies and open mouth breathing contribute to low tongue posture which can cause the tongue to fall back into the throat at night, but poor breathing patterns are typically 24/7.
Breathing is regulated by nerves in the nasal passages. An area of the nose known as the nasal mucosa is a sensor for inhaled air, and when nasal breathing occurs, the nasal mucosa sends stimuli to the breath-controlling reflex nerves. When mouth breathing occurs, the nasal mucosa does not send these stimuli to the reflex nerves, and this can result in an irregular breathing pattern. This can lead to heart conditions or the development of sleep apnoea, in which a lack of breathing regulation causes short periods of suffocation.
Other benefits of nasal breathing include:
Air exhaled through the nose reabsorbs moisture efficiently, reducing dehydration.
Nasal breathing promotes good oral health. Mouth breathing causes a drying out of the gums, increases the acidity in the mouth encouraging both cavities and gum disease.
Breathing through the nose encourages good facial development and straight teeth. A closed mouth, with the tongue where is should be, in the roof of the mouth for most of the time, can help the jaw grow enough to accommodate all the teeth.
Nasal breathing helps reduces snoring and sleep apnoea and ensure a good night’s sleep.
Mouth breathing is generally caused by on or more of the following:
Enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils
Underdeveloped nasal passages
Nasal blockage caused by allergies, swollen tissue, or other obstructions such as polyps
Incorrect lower jaw and tongue position
...... or is it just a habit?
An orofacial myologist can teach correct tongue and lip postures to enable the development of nasal breathing. Most people see positive results quickly.
Orofacial myologists work closely with your Orthodontist and ENT to achieve lasting results.
Andrea Houlihan is Coulson Trained in Orofacial Myology.
Contact today for a consultation.