If you think it never really matters how something gets to its final destination, as long as it gets there, you have never really thought about the importance of proper breathing! The truth is, how you get oxygen into your lungs can have an impact on your oral health.

The normal breathing pattern involves inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Some people, however, actually have trouble maintaining such a normal breathing pattern. Particularly while sleeping, these people may breathe more through the mouth.

The reasons for breathing through the mouth are numerous. It may be an issue of suffering from seasonal allergies, a particularly challenging problem at this time of year. Other people may have specific obstructions to their airway, such as enlarged tonsils, or a deviated septum.

As dentists, we can actually spot the physical signs of mouth breathing in our patients. One of the most common signs is a deformity of the jaw. The jaw may appear elongated, with an overbite and small chin being common. As this happens, the problem can actually become compounded as the elongated jaw can actually lead to even more airway obstructions.

However, problems associated with mouth breathing are not restricted to the physical appearance of the jaw. Mouth breathing is much less efficient than nose breathing. This means mouth breathers process less oxygen as they breathe.

The result can be a poorer quality of sleep or even sleep apnea. And people who do not sleep well are obviously not as well rested. In children, the lack of sleep can have such a profound effect on behavior that many are misdiagnosed with ADD.

How we deal with mouth breathing will depend upon the cause of the problem. Some patients may require orthodontic treatment to address an overbite or otherwise misshapen jaw. However, such treatment will only address the consequence of mouth breathing, not the cause.

Solving the problem may require that we work with other medical specialists. If the problem is an obstruction such as inflamed tonsils or deviated septum, surgery may be the solution.

Other situations may be solved with something as simple as a dental appliance that we can provide you with right here at Rideau Dental Centre. How we address your mouth breathing will depend on what is causing your specific problem.

It you suspect mouth breathing may be a problem for you, come to Rideau Dental Centre to discuss it with us. We would be happy to provide you with treatment options. Because solving your problems with mouth breathing is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon