Are You a Mouth Breather?
One of the biggest breathing issues people face is mouth breathing.
Breathing is so automatic you probably don’t often notice how you’re doing it or how deeply. You’re probably so used to your breathing habits that you may not give it a second thought, especially in terms of how you breathe at night.
Take a second and take a few deep breaths. What do you notice? Sinus congestion? Maybe you took a deep breath in and out using only your mouth. Was your breathing labored?
It’s really important that your breathing comes easily when you’re awake and when you sleep and it’s important that you’re using both your mouth and nose to do it.
What is mouth breathing?
Normal breathing for most people happens using both the nose and mouth. Mouth breathing is exactly what it sounds like: when you breathe using only your mouth.
Mouth breathing often becomes a problem when we experience some kind of issue with our nasal passages.
Mouth breathing can happen during the day or while we sleep or both. Mouth breathing during sleep can be particularly problematic because we usually don’t realize we’re doing it and are less able to control it even if we do.
Breathing through your mouth all or most of the time can really be a problem for your health.
Breathing using your nose helps your sinuses and benefits your overall health by moistening the air you take in as well as filtering out pollutants and germs, so it’s important to stop mouth breathing in its tracks.
Chronic mouth breathing at night and during the day can lead to a variety of symptoms. According to Health Line, chronic mouth breathing can lead to snoring, dry mouth, bad breath, hoarseness, chronic fatigue, brain fog and generally poor oral health.
What causes mouth breathing?
Allergies and sinus congestion are usually the most common cause of mouth breathing.
According to Health Line, “the underlying cause of most mouth breathing is an obstructed (completely blocked or partially blocked) nasal airway. In other words, there is something preventing the smooth passage of air into the nose. If your nose is blocked, the body automatically resorts to the only other source that can provide oxygen — your mouth.”
Being congested now and then and breathing through your mouth as a result, is totally normal and nothing to worry about. It’s when sinus congestion becomes chronic that mouth breathing becomes problematic.
The longer you’re breathing through your mouth, the more symptoms you’ll notice not only appearing but also getting worse over time.
You may notice that your immune system is weaker and that you’re inundated by frequent colds, you may experience constant exhaustion and chronic dry mouth may also start to bother you, just to name a few common symptoms.
Congestion isn’t the only cause of mouth breathing, though.
According to Tejas Hearing Aid Center, structural abnormalities can also impact your nasal airflow, leading to mouth breathing.
“These include deformities of the nose and nasal septum; the thin, flat cartilage and bone that divides the two sides of the nose and nostrils. […] One of the most common causes of nasal obstruction in children is enlargement of the adenoids. These are a tonsil-like tissue located in the back of the nose, behind the palate. […] Other causes in this category include nasal tumors and foreign bodies.”
A common anatomy issue associated with nasal blockage is a deviated septum. Jaw size and shape can also impact your ability to breathe through your nose.
Finally, there’s also habitual mouth breathing. Sometimes, when a frequent or chronic bout of sinus congestion is finally relieved, or when an anatomical issue is corrected, mouth breathing habits continue because your body has adapted to mouth breathing as its new ‘normal’.
Habitual mouth breathing requires special strategies for re-learning how to use your nasal passages for normal breathing to avoid the negative impacts on your health that long-term mouth breathing can bring.
What are the health ramifications of mouth breathing?
We keep mentioning the negative health impacts of mouth breathing, but we haven’t fully laid them on the table for you yet.
According to the Oral Health Group, “it is well documented that mouth breathing adults are more likely to experience sleep disordered breathing, fatigue, decreased productivity and poorer quality of life than those who nasal-breathe.”
For starters, you may not know this, but your oral health can be largely impacted by the way you breathe.
According to Dr. Sarah Thompson of Soft Touch Dentistry, “In terms of oral health, mouth breathing can cause the oral cavity to dry out. A chronic dry mouth is an open invitation to a host of dental problems. This is due to a lack of saliva production, and we need our spit to neutralize harmful acids on our teeth and rinse away bacteria and food particles. Therefore, mouth breathers become susceptible to bad breath, tooth decay and even gum disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health condition that can lead to stroke, heart disease and other complications if not treated.”
If you want to know more about how your oral health can affect the health of your body, check out this great post.
Not only will your oral health suffer, but so will your quality of sleep.
Reader’s Digest Best Health says that mouth breathing can cause people to wake in the middle of the night if they aren’t getting enough oxygen. Waking up numerous times night after night can really put a damper on your sleep, which can affect both your physical and your mental health.
Your dry mouth can also cause you to become excessively thirsty, with your body waking you up asking for water. It can also lead to snoring, which may wake both you and anyone sleeping near you. Not fun.
Particularly when mouth breathing begins at a young age, facial deformities can even result. According to a feature published by the Globe and Mail, “When an individual consistently breathes through his mouth, the muscle groups on the face and jaw are pulled in an abnormal way, which over time can cause bone deformities. Mouth breathing also irritates gum tissue, which can lead to inflammation (gummy smile) and gingivitis.”
Dr. Sarah Thompson also notes that “it is possible for children to experience developmental problems within the face if mouth breathing is not addressed. Characteristics such as a long, narrow face, flat nose, small nostrils and thin upper lips may be present.”
Postural changes have even been known to occur, as the person overcompensates in order to keep their airways open.
Reduced oxygen concentration in the blood can also be a serious problem, along with irritated tonsils and adenoids that may eventually need to be removed.
How can I stop my mouth breathing?
Now that you’ve identified the problem, there are a few ways you can work towards fixing it.
The easiest and most natural solution for mouth breathing, particularly in terms of chronic congestion and allergies, is adding black cumin oil to your daily routine.
Black cumin helps to alleviate respiratory issues associated with allergies and sinus issues.
Natural Living Ideas cites a study that demonstrated the effectiveness of black cumin oil on allergy symptoms.
“After six weeks of using the oil as nose drops (applied 2 drops nasally (one in each nostril) 3 times a day), all of the patients who had experienced mild allergy symptoms became totally symptom free, while 68.7% of moderate suffers became symptom free and 25% noted improvements. Of severe sufferers, 58.3% became symptom free and 25% were improved.”
Black cumin is naturally packed with compounds that work to kill viruses, which will help shorten the amount of time you’re nose breathing due to the common cold or other respiratory bugs.
To learn more about the many ways that black cumin oil can improve your respiratory health, check out this recent post.
If your mouth breathing has become a habit and the original, physical cause has been eliminated, there are some additional strategies you can try to help you switch back to nasal breathing.
Consciously make an effort to practice breathing with your mouth closed a number of times per day. You can set a timer on your phone for every hour to remind you to be aware of your breathing. If you happen to notice yourself breathing through your mouth only, immediately stop and change to nasal breathing.
Snorezing.com says head elevation and proper sleep positions — like avoiding lying on your back — can also help break the habit during sleep, when you can’t pay attention to how you’re breathing. Some people even result to mouth guards that force their mouths closed at night. Talk to your dentist if you think that this might be a good solution for you.
Unfortunately, if your issues are anatomical, you will probably require a more invasive solution, like surgery. Speak with your doctor and, in the meantime, try combining using black cumin oil and using habit-breaking strategies to see if they bring you partial relief.
If you aren’t 100% sure what’s behind your mouth breathing, it’s important not to take some of the extreme steps that you may have seen advocated for online.
Some people recommend taking your mouth closed when you sleep to force yourself to breathe through your nose but this can be very dangerous if your nasal passages are congested or you have an anatomical issue. You could potentially suffocate.
A natural solution
It’s probably clear to you that if you’re a mouth breather, it’s a habit you’ve got to break.
Long-term mouth breathing is something you should be taking seriously, as it can cause serious health problems down the road.
In terms of an easy natural solution, black cumin oil is a great place to start, especially for congestion and sinus issues. It’s important to only put a pure, organic oil into your body as you wouldn’t want to add to your health issues with a poorly made supplement.
Our Black Cumin Oil is made with organic, non-GMO black cumin seeds that are pressed using Perfect Press Technology. Nothing but pure black cumin seed oil is in our bottles.
In terms of habitual mouth breathing, there are many resources online to help you find a strategy for correcting the problem that works best for you.
If you suspect you’re suffering from an anatomical nasal issue, it’s important you speak with your doctor and take your first step towards correcting this bad breathing habit.