Home / My Blog / Mouth Breathing – Something Has Gone Wrong

Mouth breathing isn’t natural. To me as a myofunctional therapist, a mouth breathing or open mouth habit is a clear sign of underlying dysfunctions and potential health problems. It really is as simple as that!

Humans are designed to breathe through the nose, except when we really need additional air, when we’re running or exercising hard for example.

As Patrick McKeown says in his excellent book The Oxygen Advantage, “You were born breathing through your nose, and it has been our primary conduit for breathing for hundreds of thousands of years. It was only when our ancient ancestors were in dangerous situations that they reverted to mouth breathing to take in greater volumes of air in preparation for intense physical activity.”

Mouth breathing

He goes on to say, “The late Dr Maurice Cottle, who founded the American Rhinologic Society in 1954, stated that the nose performs at least thirty functions, all of which are important supplements to the roles played by the lungs, heart and other organs.”

Mouth Breathing Isn’t Healthy

If you’re regularly breathing through your mouth, then you exist in a state of dysfunction. Nasal breathing is our natural state, and it has so many advantages. From the benefits of nasal nitric oxide (as covered in this post) to the regulation of respiration during sleep to balancing the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood, breathing through the nose, both day and night is vitally important. It even plays a role in managing our response to stress. This can make a huge difference in our overall health and well-being because living in a stressed state can lead to a cascade of health problems.

So breathing through the nose is a big deal for adults but it’s even more important in children because their cranial and facial development is so easily affected by an open mouth resting posture. An open mouth can literally change the shape of a child’s face. You can read more about how mouth breathing can affect growth in this post.

In this video from my YouTube channel, I’ll explain some more about mouth breathing:

The best way to address a mouth breathing habit is to get assessed by a myofunctional therapist. Whether that’s me, or someone in your area, I’d urge you to take an open mouth habit seriously. Many of my adult patients wish they’d been able to switch to nasal breathing when they were much younger. If they had, then they would likely have been spared the medical conditions and associated symptoms that led them to work with me.

 
 

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