The Impact of Mouth Breathing on Dental Health

The Impact of Mouth Breathing on Dental Health

Dec 01, 2023
Mouth breathing, as the term suggests, refers to the habit of breathing through the mouth rather than the nose. While occasional mouth breathing is normal, chronic mouth breathing can lead to a wide array of issues. Here’s how it works: When you breathe through your mouth, you bypass the natural filtration system of the nasal passages. This means the air you inhale isn’t properly humidified, warmed, or filtered, unlike the air that goes through the nose. Let’s explore the side effects of this habit in detail.
  • Identifying the Root Causes
Understanding why you or someone you know may be mouth-breathing is the first step towards finding a solution. Here are some common reasons:
  • Nasal Congestion
Chronic nasal congestion due to allergies or other factors can force you to breathe through your mouth for relief.
  • Habit
Sometimes, mouth breathing becomes a habit, especially in children who may have started due to allergies or other temporary issues.
  • Structural Issues
Certain structural issues, like a deviated septum, can make nasal breathing difficult.
  • Stress
Stress and anxiety often result in mouth breathing. Practicing relaxation techniques can mitigate this.


  • Dry Mouth and Dental Health
One of the immediate consequences of chronic mouth breathing is dry mouth, technically known as xerostomia. Saliva plays a pivotal role in maintaining oral health as it helps to neutralize acids, wash away food particles, and prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. When you breathe through your mouth, your salivary glands don’t receive the signal to produce saliva effectively. As a result, your mouth becomes dry, creating a conducive environment for dental problems.
  • Dental Decay and Cavities
The reduced saliva flow associated with mouth breathing contributes to an elevated risk of dental decay and cavities. Without adequate saliva to wash away food particles and neutralize acids, the bacteria in your mouth have a field day, attacking your enamel. Over time, this can lead to the formation of cavities and a greater need for dental interventions such as fillings.
  • Gum Disease and Inflammation
Dry mouth isn’t the only issue. Mouth breathing can also lead to infection of the gums. The lack of moisture in your mouth allows harmful bacteria to proliferate, potentially leading to gum inflammation and, in severe cases, periodontal disease. Healthy gums are essential for holding teeth in place, so the consequences of gum disease can extend beyond oral health, affecting your overall well-being.
  • Malocclusion and Orthodontic Problems
Mouth breathing, especially during childhood, can impact the development of the jaw and facial structures. Children who chronically breathe through their mouths may be more prone to malocclusion, which is an improper alignment of the teeth when the jaw is closed. This condition can lead to orthodontic problems that require braces or other corrective measures. If you’re looking for solutions to orthodontic issues like malocclusion, consider exploring Invisalign in Calgary as a discreet and effective treatment option.
  • Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Chronic mouth breathing can also result in bad breath or halitosis. The lack of saliva, which naturally cleanses the mouth, allows odor-causing bacteria to flourish. This not only affects your confidence but can also be a sign of underlying dental or oral problems.
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues
The temporomandibular joint/TMJ, which connects your jaw to your skull, can also be adversely affected by mouth breathing. Improper breathing patterns can lead to TMJ issues, causing jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth.

How to Stop Mouth Breathing

Now, let’s focus on how to break free from the habit of mouth breathing and lead a healthier life:
  • Nasal Breathing Exercises
To stop mouth breathing, practice nasal breathing exercises, which can help train your body to breathe through your nose. Techniques like the Buteyko method and alternate nostril breathing can be highly effective.
  • Allergy Management
If allergies are causing your nasal congestion, it’s essential to manage them with the help of antihistamines or allergen-reducing strategies.
  • Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water keeps your nasal passages moist and can reduce the urge to breathe.
  • Mouth Taping
Mouth taping at night can help train you to breathe through your nose while you sleep. It may sound unconventional, but many people find it effective.
  • Seek Professional Help
If you’re unable to identify the cause or remedy the situation on your own, don’t hesitate to consult with a healthcare professional at the dental clinic in Northwest Calgary. They can help diagnose any underlying issues and recommend appropriate treatments. In conclusion, the impact of mouth breathing on dental health is more significant than one might think. Chronic mouth breathing can lead to a range of dental issues, from cavities, tooth infections, and gum disease to bad breath and malocclusion. Recognizing the signs and seeking early intervention can help prevent these problems and maintain optimal dental health. So, if you’ve been neglecting the way you breathe, it’s time to pay attention. Your dental health may be at stake. Remember, breathing through your nose isn’t just about getting enough oxygen; it’s about ensuring your teeth and gums stay healthy. Take a deep breath, but make sure it’s through your nose. For professional dental care and guidance, consider visiting Toothworks Calgary.