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Mouth breathing Causes and effects

Date :14/05/2015

Our mode of respiration influences the posture of our jows, tongue and to lesser extent the head. Just like breathing through the nose is normal, healthy and effortless, breathing through the mouth is unhealthy, knotty and complicated. Most people indulge in mouth breathing when they are under physical exertion such as strenuous exercise or sports. But mouth breathing as a habit can change the oro-facial equilibrium resulting in myriad troubles. Check out the reasons for mouth breathing and its ill effects.

Causes of mouth breathing

Complete or partial obstruction of the nasal passage like a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, long-standing inflammation of the nasal tissues or related allergic reactions, localised tumours, obstructive adenoids and so on can result in mouth breathing.

For some, mouth breathing becomes a deep-rooted habit that is performed unconsciously. A habitual mouth breather is one who continues to breathe through his mouth even after the nasal obstruction is removed.

For some, it’s a structural problem. An anatomic mouth breather is one whose lip morphology does not permit complete closure of the mouth, as in persons having a short upper lip.


Mouth breathers typically have what is called the long face syndrome or the classic adenoid facies. they exhibit features like a long and narrow face, slender nose and constricted nasal passage, short and flaccid upper lip, contracted upper jaw in which teeth are placed unevenly, dryness of the mouth which predisposes to dental decay, drying up of the gums leading to gingivitis and other problems.

Diagnosis and interception

There are a couple of do-it-yourself tests to find out if you’re a mouth breather.

Mirror test : Hold a double-side of the mirror indicates nassal breathing whereas fogging towards the oral side indicates oral breathing.

Water test : Fill your mouth with water and retain it for a period of time. If you’re nasal breather you can accomplish this with ease. On the other hand, if your are a mouth breather you could find this task difficult.

Nevertheless, don’t take things into your hands; get an affirmation from your dentist. Depending on the origin of the preducament, the doctorwill counsel you. Nasal obstructions, if any, are removed by referring to an ENT surgeon. An appliance called the vestibular screen has successfully intercepted mouth breathing as a habit; if your condition requires it, your dentist will instruct you on its usage.

The author is dental surgeon and can be contacted at ALL SMILES DENTAL CLINIC, 26673439, 9845085230.


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