Trisha O’Hehir is a registered Dental Hygienist. Not just “a” dental hygienist, she is THE go-to-person for dental hygiene in the US. Last week in Cancun, I had the opportunity to meet her, hear her speak and learn some valuable information. Trisha O’Hehir gave a talk titled, “Close Your Mouth. Breathe Through Your Nose“.
As a mother, I found this fascinating As the talk unfolded, I started thinking about my children and people I knew. So? As you read this, is your mouth open or is it closed? Are your lips together? Lips apart? Give it a little more thought. Is your regular mouth rest posture, lips together with the tongue resting in the palate and breathing done through the nose or is the tongue not resting against the palate, moved down and forward?
Why does this matter? I mean, really, apparently if we’re living we’re breathing; right?
Mouth Breather=More Carbon Dioxide
Turns out, oxygen absorption levels are lowered, palate development is compromised and snoring becomes an occurrence in sleep when we breathe through our mouth. Every cell that makes up our body needs oxygen to survive. No one is arguing that mouth breathing brings in more air, but it also expels more carbon dioxide, which leads to reduced oxygen absorption. Compare this to how the body was designed to breathe, through the nose and while this brings in less air than the mouth, less air is exhaled, creating a back pressure in the lungs that allows for more oxygen to be absorbed into the blood. It ensures the desired blood pH remains between 7.35 and 7.45 (or slightly alkaline).
Our body is a pretty fine-tuned vessel. When we mouth breath, a message is sent to the brain that carbon dioxide is being lost too quickly. The brain responds by stimulating the cells that create mucous, slows the breathing and triggers a constriction of blood vessels. Mouth breathing also contributes to bad breath. When we breathe through out mouth, everything dries out, creating the perfect environment for bad breath.
We need the nose to warm and filter the air through the nasal hairs. Otherwise, harmful particles may enter the lungs and respiratory system.
Think about Napoleon Dynamite. He’s a mouth breather.
Snoring happens when air movement is obstructed, causing vibration. If we breathe through the nose, the tongue is on the palate, creating a seal with the throat so no sound occurs Besides snoring, mouth breathing in children can lead to abnormal palatal growth, creating a narrow, high-vaulted palate resulting in what’s called the “Long Face Syndrome.”
Think about it, when we breathe through our mouth, our tongue no longer rests in the palate. Without it resting against the roof of the mouth, a narrow palate develops leading to crowded teeth. The long face look, created by mouth-breathers, may be perceived to lack intelligent or have poor social skills. Think about Napoleon Dynamite. He’s a mouth breather. The lips apart are the giveaway.
It should be noted that once mouth breathers switch to nose breathing the may experience congestion. The brain can sense when we are exhaling too quickly (something common in mouth breathing due to faster inhalation of carbon dioxide).
A Mouth Breathers doesn’t sleep well
Mouth breathers don’t sleep well and seldom reach the therapeutic level of sleep. They simply don’t get enough oxygen. The nose fills the lungs with eighteen percent more oxygen than mouth breathing and that enables the brain and muscles to thrive. Mouth breathers have weaker muscles, less memory, and less stamina.
Look at your children or even yourself is there snoring? Sleeping with lips together is important to start early. One way to help establish this and it may sound silly and sound like child abuse is the use of paper tape put across lips at night. Children don’t mind, and it’s an easy way to train the mouth to keep it closed.
Just think if your mouth stays dryer, saliva is not working at to neutrilize bacteria, giving the bacteria a chance to get a head of us and create tooth decay. When the tonsils dry out the become enlarged…can create tonsil stones (smelly and contribute to bad breath). Physicians are discovering in Cleveland biggest sleep apnea for children while at NYU they say there is no such thing as ADHD, children are not sleeping well or enough and mouth breathing, leading to poor brain development.
Consider these findings when asked to “open wide” the valuable message is “close your mouth.”