What being a Mouth-Breather really Means

what being a mouth breather meansMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Being called a mouth-breather used to mean that someone wasn’t all that smart, but speaking in terms of dentistry, it means a serious health problem is going untreated. Many people unknowingly breathe through their mouth, yet mouth breathing can jeopardize both your oral health and overall health. Your Miami neuromuscular dentists at Miami Designer Smiles want to educate patients on what being a mouth breather really means.

Everyone breathes through the mouth from time to time, but chronic mouth breathing is a condition that should require intervention and treatment 

Certain health conditions and risk factors can lead a person to breathe frequently through the mouth. These conditions may include allergies, chronic sinus congestion, asthma, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, a history of sucking the thumb or fingers, sinus polyps, or birth abnormalities such as choanal atresia (a congenital disorder causing the back of the nasal passage to be blocked) or a cleft palate. Mouth breathing also can manifest as the result of a tongue-tie, which occurs when the lingual frenum under the tongue is too short, restricting the tongue’s range of motion and the inability to keep the mouth closed.

The consequences of mouth breathing can be dire

It affects your rest. People who breathe through the mouth are more likely to develop a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway becomes obstructed or completely blocked during sleep. These obstructions occur hundreds of times a night in a person with an advanced, untreated case of sleep apnea. Each the obstruction happen, the sleep cycle is disrupted, leaving the person feeling extremely fatigued on a daily basis while also elevating the risk factor of certain chronic, life-threatening conditions like cardiac disease, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, and even certain forms of cancer.

It affects your self-confidence. Chronically mouth breathing affects facial development. Breathing through the mouth encourages narrow dental arches and a longer, narrower face—as well as increases the likelihood that an overbite develops. People who breathe through the mouth also tend to have a slightly open-mouthed look. Appearance isn’t the only potential change from mouth breathing; this unconscious behavior also may make a child more susceptible to developing a speech impediment.

It affects your oral health. A recent study found that 50.9% of children who were mouth breathers had strong- or foul-smelling breath. Mouth breathing also can alter the position of the jaw, leading to jaw pain, bite misalignment or even the development of temporomandibular joint disorder. A person who frequently breathes through the mouth also faces a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Myofunctional Therapy in Miami

The best way to treat mouth breathing is to correct the behavior through a course of myofunctional therapy. This therapy consists of a series of simple and pain-free exercises that work the orofacial system (mouth and tongue). We compose a personalized treatment plan for each patient at our Miami office. The main goals of myofunctional therapy are to encourage proper oral rest posture (with teeth together, lips closed, and the tongue resting on the roof of the mouth), and nasal breathing with the mouth closed.

To learn more about how myofunctional therapy could help you or your child, contact our Miami dentists today at (305) 595-4616 to schedule your consultation with our certified Myofunctional Therapist in Coral Gables and Miami.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to serve patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables in Florida.