Breathing Problems

Mouths are for eating, noses are for breathing

The importance of breathing is often overlooked. Yet imbalances in the way we breathe affects body chemistry and blood pH, the first step in all diseases

Ideally we should breathe through our nose 8-12 times/minute, with our tongue resting on our palate.

Our nose is designed to filter, warm and humidify the air we breathe.

Dysfunctional breathing can have a huge impact on your sleep and therefore you overall health.

If we breathe through our mouth, our breathing is dysfunctional. Our upper and lower jaws may not develop to their full potential, the air will not be filtered, our bodies may be more acidic and our posture can also be affected.

We swallow 2000/day ideally our tongue resting on the roof of our mouth. In this way our upper jaw may develop to its full potential with enough room for our lower jaw and for all 32 teeth that nature has provided us.

Mouth breathing or dysfunctional breathing affects whole-body health. Other symptoms such as migraine and headaches then may appear. In holistic dentistry, it is important to look at all factors that may cause pain and/or stress symptoms. Sleep is often a major factor that should be taken into account.

  • A small proportion of people breathe efficiently. They over breathe through the mouth, rather than slowly through the nose to warm, filter and humidify the air.
  • Low carbon dioxide levels mean that the haemoglobin in our blood does not release the oxygen throughout the body , which may result in feeling like you have less energy
  • Breathing in through the NOSE and out through the MOUTH is the wrong way to breathe.

Why is it important to breathe well?

  • Dysfunctional breathing results in a lower carbon dioxide level
  • Carbon dioxide is the critical factor in ensuring that oxygen is released by our red blood cells and helps energise every cell in your body.
  • Incorrect breathing SIGNIFICANTLY lowers carbon dioxide levels and reduces oxygen supply to your cells.
  • Bigger and deeper breaths actually REDUCE the amount of oxygen that is available – not increase it.
  • Dysfunctional breathing makes the body more acidic and prone to dental problems
  • Dysfunctional breathing can result in narrower upper and lower jaws resulting in crowding of teeth
  • Incorrect breathing can affect every one of the body’s eleven functional systems and may cause everything from night-time trips to the toilet to crooked teeth and narrow jaws in children.

At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, sleep and breathing assessment is a large part of our health assessment.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you breathe through your mouth?

Mouth breathing is dysfunctional. It can have a number of negative impacts on our health:

  • Our upper and lower jaws may not develop to their full potential
  • Can result in poor posture
  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Increased risk of inflamed tonsils

Do you wake up with dry lips or a dry mouth?

If you wake up with dry lips or a dry mouth, this can be a sign you are mouth breathing at night.

Do you wake during the night?

This could be a sign of sleep disordered breathing. Abnormality or pauses of breathing or an imbalance of CO2 and O2 during sleep can affect body chemistry and cause smooth muscle (e.g. bladder) to contract.

Do you have crowded teeth?

Breathing Problems

Why do teeth crowd?

Why does 90% of the population have insufficient space for the 32 teeth nature has provided us with? Why do 90% of orthodontic treatments relapse to some degree after 5 years without permanent retention?

Mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, incorrect swallowing and other myofunctional (soft tissue) habits can cause malocclusion, poor facial development and recurrence of crowded teeth after orthodontic treatment.

The tongue is nature’s orthodontic appliance. It is a broad flat strong muscle that will develop a broad health upper jaw, which provides lots of room for nasal breathing and lower jaws. When the lower jaw has lots of room, teeth do not crowd and jaw joints are not put under pressure and start to click. There is a healthy balance of forces of the lip, cheeks and tongue.

Breathing retraining:

The best way to improve your breathing is the retraining yourself to breathe through your nose. There are a number of advantages of nasal breathing outlined in the question section below.

Splints and appliances:

There may be splints or appliances that can help you in your breathing retraining. These are called myofunctional appliances.

Myofunctional therapy:

We can pair the use of myofunctional appliances with orofacial myofunctional therapy. This involves mouth and tongue exercises used in conjunction with the myofunctional appliances to strengthen the muscles and tongue to be in the right positions.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Ideally we should breathe 8-12 breaths/minute
  • Breathe through your nose
  • Use of your diaphragm to fill the lungs (stomach should move out when you breathe in, and in when you breathe out)
  • Tongue resting on the roof of your mouth
  • Correct breathing, especially while asleep

There are a number of advantages of nasal breathing. This includes the 5 levels of protection:

  1. Fine hairs in the nostril filter air
  2. Mucous lining kills microbes
  3. Sinuses and turbinates warm and humidify the air
  4. Air passes the adenoids (a line of defence
  5. Air passes the tonsils (a line of defence)
  • Mouth breathing is dysfunctional
  • Our upper and lower jaws may not develop to their full potential
  • Can result in poor posture
  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Increased risk of inflamed tonsils

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