Are You a Mouth Breather?

KatieM

Katie Moynihan, BS RDH

Are You a Mouth Breather?

Breathing out of your mouth may not seem like a huge problem, but in terms of oral health and facial development, mouth breathing can create numerous oral health concerns. Chronic mouth breathing occurs when your body cannot get enough oxygen through your nose, therefore, must resort to your mouth for the necessary oxygen supply. It can be caused by several different factors – obstructive, habitual, and anatomic conditions. In most cases, mouth breathing is caused by chronic nasal obstruction. Examples of this include enlarged tonsils, allergies, nasal congestion, asthma, and nasal polyps. It may also be caused just by habit. A person might not even know any better because it is the norm for them to breathe through their mouth. Some anatomic conditions that can cause mouth breathing include Down syndrome, malocclusion, tongue thrusting, cerebral palsy, and sleep apnea. Each of these conditions contribute to the deprivation of oxygen which can lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of mouth breathing in dentistry include:

  • dry lips and mouth
  • decreased saliva
  • inflamed and bleeding gums
  • increased plaque
  • frequent cavities
  • chronic bad breath
  • swollen tonsils/adenoids

Mouth breathing has been known to cause developmental problems in children. Often times children breathe through their mouth habitually and many parents never think twice about it. However, if left undiagnosed and untreated, it may lead to permanent skeletal deformities. The face can begin to grow long and narrow, the nose can become flat with small nostrils, and the lips can be thin on top and quite pouty on the bottom. This, in addition to the other negative effects to oral health, shows that mouth breathing is a whole body problem and should be treated as early as possible.

 

Yes, you read that right, mouth breathing can be treated! You would think that it would be an easy habit to change – just close your mouth, right? Unfortunately, for people who struggle with mouth breathing, it’s not that easy. The body simply doesn’t know how to breathe normally, and the muscles of the face and mouth have compensated and learned to work incorrectly. In order to stop mouth breathing, the muscles must be re-trained to function in new ways. Treatment includes respiratory exercises, lifestyle changes, and in some cases medical surgeries and devices. If you feel as though your mouth breathing is occurring more than normal, please consult with your dental or health care professional to determine the cause and treatment needed to correct your chronic mouth breathing.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.myfaceology.com/mouth-breathing/

http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=m&iid=296&aid=7327

http://besthealthus.com/conditions/oral-health/mouth-breather/

Health and Nutrition

JW9(sm)

 

Julie West BS RDH 

Statistics from the World Health Organization show that up to 93% of diabetes, 81% of heart disease, 50% of strokes, and 36% of all cancers could be prevented by a healthy diet and lifestyle.  We have all heard of fad diets and medications that claim to slim you down in weeks, but have you looked at the asterisk on the bottom of your television screen during their commercials?  You will see that the testimonials you are seeing are from “results not typical” and have occurred in less and 5% of the people who took that particular diet plan or pill.  The best weight loss experts will tell you that there is no shortcut to being healthy.  Diet and exercise are essential in establishing and maintaining health.

Obesity is increasing in prevalence and is a major contributor to worldwide morbidity.  As obesity in this country rises, are we surprised that the prevalence of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases rises too?  One of the dangers in obesity is due to a prolonged state of inflammation in the body.  Inflammation is the first response of the body to injury, cell damage, infection, or irritants.  Inflammation that is chronic and unresolved can lead to:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Asthma
  • Cancer

Fat cells produce hormones and proteins that cause inflammation and insulin resistance, which promote cell growth.  Overweight people have high levels of substances circulating in their blood that stimulate cell division. The more often cells divide, the more opportunity there is for cancer to develop.  To help lower your risk for cancer, it is important to know how much inflammation is present inside your body.

At your next visit to your doctor, ask for a blood workup with a screening of your C-reactive protein, a protein made by the liver when there is inflammation in the body.

Inflammation also often manifests in the mouth.  If you have one or more of the above diseases, inflammation may be the underlying factor.  At your next dental visit, ask your dental hygienist if there is inflammation in your mouth.  Your dental hygienist can provide great information about the inflammation process and its effects on the body.

 

Source:

Brand-Miller J, et al. Cur Opin Lipidol 2012, 23(1): 62-7

Low Dog, MD. (February 2014). Cancer and Nutrition in the 21st Century. Western Regional Dental                    

Convention.  GC America, Phoenix, Arizona.