Generally, people breathe through their nose and mouth; mostly through the nose and occasionally through the mouth, for instance when exercising. Breathing in through the nose is beneficial because the air gets filtered, moistened and warmed. When the breathing shifts to the mouth, one may experience serious side effects. Mouth breathing can be as a result of allergies, cold, problems with the tonsils, birth defects and stress, among many others. One can also form a habit of breathing through the mouth after recovering from a cold.
Side Effects of Mouth Breathing
Some of the major side effects of mouth breathing include
- Crooked teeth: This is especially common in children. It arises as a result of the changed resting position of the tongue for mouth breathers. Crooked teeth can affect a child’s life negatively in a number of ways. It may also result in difficulties in chewing and speech, headaches, and an increased risk of injuries.
- Poor speech development: Mouth breathing also affects speech development. Continual mouth breathing can affect how one pronounces certain words.
- Gum disease and tooth decay: These dental issues can arise because when one is constantly breathing through the mouth, the mouth dries out.
- Bad breath
- Snoring and sleep issues: Mouth breathing is one of the causes of snoring.
- Physical abnormalities: Kids who are mouth breathers may end up with long and narrow faces.
Signs of Mouth Breathing
Some people breathe through the mouth only at night and thus it may not be easily evident that someone is a mouth breather. Below are some key signs to watch out for
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth
- Lack of a good night’s sleep
How To Combat The Effects of Mouth Breathing
There are a couple of solutions available for mouth breathers. The ideal solution will depend on the cause of the mouth breathing and the effect. If you notice any signs of mouth breathing in you or your child, talk to your doctor immediately. The problem can be combated using these five key solutions.
One, your healthcare provider can recommend medication. This is mostly an ideal solution where mouth breathing is as a result of allergies and infections. Two, some mouth breathers may end up using a CPAP machine. This should also be recommended by the health care provider. It is a machine that helps one to breathe easily when sleeping.
The cost of getting one can be covered by the insurance company, but you will have to go through a trial for the insurer to determine if they will keep paying for the machine. This is normally done by looking at your CPAP compliance. Your doctor will monitor your usage and share the information with your insurance company. An easy way to improve your CPAP compliance is by following your doctor’s recommendations for the treatment. Also, ensure that you get the right machine.
Three, the doctor may recommend surgery in some cases such as those where the tonsils are involved. Four, dental treatments can be done for defects that touch on the teeth. Five, one can be trained to go back to breathing through their nose. The training can be done with the help of a therapist. The training can also cover speech therapy and exercises that affect breathing.
Since the side effects of mouth breathing can extend into the long term, you should seek treatment as fast as possible. Delay can cause serious damage to you or your child. Also, as you look for solutions, avoid DIY treatments, especially where signs are evident. Visit a doctor who can help in identifying the underlying cause and coming up with a lasting solution.