As Dr. Jacques Hébert explains, breathing through one’s nose is important for several reasons. It regulates the rate of respiration, slowing down the breathing rate and making people use more of their lung capacity. This helps people absorb more oxygen from the air. Nose breathing helps promote good head posture.
However, Dr. Hébert says, mouth breathing has just the opposite effects. Mouth breathers breathe faster and absorb less oxygen. They use less of their lungs, and their heads move forward, creating bad posture and, perhaps, back problems.
Over time, Dr. Hébert says, mouth breathing will have dental consequences. Mouth breathing results in a dry mouth, and that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gingivitis. A more serious issue is that mouth breathing is usually associated with snoring, and snoring is usually associate with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Mouth breathing is an even worse problem in children, Dr. Hébert explains. Mouth breathing in children can lead to a host of problems, including long faces, small chins, and crooked teeth. Also, because the air taken in is not being filtered through the nose, a child’s tonsils can get enlarged. That can cause breathing problems at night, and that can cause children to be sleepy during the day, performing poorly in school, and possibly behavioral problems.
So any parent who notices that a child is breathing through the mouth while the child is at rest should come in for a consultation with the dentist as soon as possible. Dr. Hébert says that he will start a child as early as age five with an appliance to help retrain the musculature of the face. The idea is to get the child breathing normally through the nose. The treatment for an adult mouth breather is similar, but the aim is to get the patient’s health back to an optimal level.
Dr. Jacques Hébert, of Centre Dentaire Fancelli near Montreal in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City in 1981, Dr. Jacques Hébert is a multidisciplinary residency at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal the following year. His areas of predilection are the joint treatment, cosmetic dentistry and implantology and laser treatments. Dr. Hébert is a graduate of the prestigious Institute for Advanced Dental Dawson Studies in Florida. Sleep Better TV is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.