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Mouth Breather? Close Your Mouth and Breathe Through Your Nose

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” (YouTube).

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, if we’re living, we’re breathing, right?

Mouth Breather=More Carbon Dioxide

It 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 argues that mouth breathing brings in more air, but it also expels more carbon dioxide, leading 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 back pressure in the lungs that allows for more oxygen to be absorbed into the blood. It ensures that the desired blood pH remains between 7.35 and 7.45 (slightly alkaline). If you are a mouth breather with bad breath, you should head down to this Pediatric dentist in Vista for treatment options, say the experts at

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, slow breathing, and triggers constriction of blood vessels. Mouth breathing also contributes to bad breath. Everything dries out when we breathe throughout the mouth, 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.”

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 intelligence or have poor social skills. Think about Napoleon Dynamite. He’s a mouth breather. The lips apart are the giveaway.

napoleon dynamite

It should be noted that once mouth breathers switch to nose breathing, they may experience congestion. The brain can sense when we exhale too quickly (something familiar in mouth breathing due to faster carbon dioxide inhalation).

A Mouth Breathersdoesn’tt 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, enabling 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 to neutralize bacteria, giving the bacteria a chance to get ahead of us and create tooth decay. When the tonsils dry out, they become enlarged…can make tonsil stones (smelly and contribute to bad breath). Physicians are discovering Cleveland’s 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 t” “open wi “e” the valuable message i” “close your mouth.””

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