Did you know that mouth breathing can cause serious oral damage? If not addressed, it can change the shape of your face, cause headaches, jaw issues, and oral health concerns. Here we’ll show you how breathing out of your mouth harms your oral health and what you can do to treat it.
With mouth breathing, the tongue tends to rest on the floor of the mouth instead of the top. This can lead to the development of a narrow V-shaped top jaw as opposed to a U-shape that should form. Over time, this contributes to a narrow facial structure and results in crooked teeth.
When the airways become blocked and you need to use your mouth to breath, it results in posture changes as well as facial development issues that impact the position of your teeth and bite. Mouth breathing also promotes the growth of the upper jaw rather than the lower jaw which can result in an overbite and gummy smile.
An underdeveloped upper jaw also results in a constricted passageway. This causes the upper jawbone to grow downward and backward instead of forward and outward to the sides. The result is a thinner upper jaw and face. If you begin to develop jaw issues related to your breathing, you may begin to experience symptoms of TMJ disorder — headaches and migraines, neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and even hearing and vision issues.
Tooth Decay and Cavities
If you breathe with your mouth open throughout the night, it’s likely that you’ll awake with an excessively dry mouth. This causes bacteria to grow since the saliva is what washes the bacteria away from your mouth and neutralizes the acids. When there’s not enough saliva production, your chances of tooth decay and cavities increase.
Gingivitis and Gum Disease
When left untreated, dry mouth also can put you at risk for gum disease and gingivitis. The lack of saliva also causes the gingival tissues to become irritated and inflamed, which can eventually lead to oral health issues that are linked to a number of other serious health problems like heart attacks and heart disease.
If you wake up with dry lips, chronic ear, and sinus infections, and chronic bad breath, it’s time to visit your dentist. Through a simple evaluation, your dentist can also tell if you breathe out of your mouth. If so, they will recommend a treatment option to help you retrain your muscles to function in new ways and to correct the problem before it gets worse.