It’s time to check in on how you breathe - are you a mouth breather or a nose breather?
Breathing is such a natural thing, and you do it subconsciously - in-out, in-out, all day and night long. It’s a part of your daily needs, something that is valued but not always considered. But how we breathe (i.e via nose or mouth) can adversely affect our health. Yes, it turns out that our bodies were actually designed to breathe through our noses.
If you are a mouth breather, you may be interested in the ways that mouth breathing can cause certain health issues. Read on to learn how this could be so...
Lowered Nitric Oxide Levels:
Nitric oxide is produced in the sinuses. Increased levels of nitric oxide in the body enhance memory and learning, regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality, increase strength and endurance, and improve immune function. The body produces 25% of its nitric oxide through nose breathing. When you breathe through your mouth, you miss out on all the benefits of this powerful gas.
The nose hairs, adenoids, turbinates, and mucous membranes in your sinuses make up a very compact and effective in-body filtration system in your nose. When you breathe through your nose, the bacteria you breathe in from the air is filtered out through this system. When you breathe through your mouth, however, all these toxins are not released back out and stay in your body.
Mouth breathing increases the bacteria in your mouth, stimulating dental decay. Breathing through your mouth can dry the saliva that is supposed to protect your teeth. Since saliva acts as a natural mouthwash, clearing away debris from food and noxious agents, and neutralizing acids, the absence of it can lead to the decay of teeth.
Breathing through the mouth during sleep is associated with loud snoring. This happens because of the way breathing is regulated by the nerves in the nasal passages. An area of the nose known as the nasal mucosa is a sensor for inhaled air, and when nasal breathing occurs, the nasal mucosa sends stimuli to the breath-controlling reflex nerves. When mouth breathing occurs, the nasal mucosa does not send these stimuli to the reflex nerves, and this can result in an irregular breathing pattern - snoring.
How you breathe can negatively affect your posture. Correct posture is when all your bones are aligned in the best possible way. Having correct posture comes with a huge list of health benefits including;
- Muscles being used effectively and properly
- A decrease of the stress on the ligaments
- A decrease of back and muscular pain,
- An increase in energy
What Can You do About it?
A common fix to encourage nasal breathing is to tape your mouth shut when you sleep - no we’re not kidding! Alternatively, you could try using a nasal clip to widen your nasal passage and increase air flow. Breathing and meditation exercises that focus on breathing through the nose can also help. But since mouth breathing is sometimes caused by a medical condition it’s a good idea to see your doctor first.