Nasal Breathing: The healthy way to breathe
Nasal breathing is essential for good health because:
Nasal breathing results in 20% more O2 uptake as compared to the breathing through the mouth.
Nasal breathing warms, humidifies and filters incoming air. It also removes a significant amount of bacteria and germs from the air we breathe in.
During nasal breathing Nitric oxide (NO) is continuously released from the back of the nose and nasal sinuses into our lungs. This gas helps in vaso-regulation, neuro-transmission, enhances immune response and ensures regular breathing.
Chronic, habitual mouth breathing on the other hand resulted, according to scientific studies, in decreased muscle strength, reduced chest expansion and impaired pulmonary ventilation.
Postural problems were found to be more common in school aged children, who mouth breathe. If growing children continuously breathe through their mouths, their faces may develop abnormally.
Examples of the abnormal facial growth are:
• excessive appearance of the upper front teeth
• ‘V’ shaped upper arch
• open bite and cross bite
• excessive anterior face height
• gummy smile
Lack of growth may affect the whole face and is associated with:
• flat cheeks
• unattractive lips
• large noses
• tired eyes
• double chins and receding chins
• Slopping foreheads.
These facial changes may result in life long sleep apnea…
Children that do not sleep at night-due to upper air way obstruction, may have weaker concentration, hence reduced academic performance and developmental delays.
Negative dental outcomes of mouth breathing are:
• More gum disease and dental decay due to acidification of the dry mouth.
• Bad breath and staining due to the altered bacterial population.
If mouth breathing is treated early enough its negative effect on facial and dental development and the medical and social problems may be reduced or averted.