Many people choose to breathe through their mouths rather than their noses, ignoring the potential affect it could have on your teeth. Is it possible that breathing through the mouth could damage your oral health? Here's a look at the possibilities for children and adults.
Developmental Issues in Children
The first main problem of mouth breathing is the way it can affect mouth development in children. Children can have narrower mouths and faces, and that can lead to a higher risk of gingivitis and misaligned teeth. There is a high risk of needing braces later in life, due to crowded teeth or gaps.
It is not just the oral health that is affected. Breathing through the mouth leads to poorer quality of sleep, and that affects development in many other ways.
Bad Breath in Children and Adults
Breathing through the mouth leads to bacteria build-up for two reasons. The first is that the hairs in the nose don't manage to collect as much, preventing from the bacteria entering the airways. However, bacteria will build in other ways. The food you eat will produce it.
When bacteria is allowed to build in the mouth, it causes bad breath in both adults and children. Brushing the teeth regularly doesn't completely cure the problem, as the bacteria will get into other sections of the mouth, including the back of the throat and the tongue.
This bacteria will also lead to a higher risk of infections, including in the sinuses, ears and nose.
Less Saliva in the Mouth for Adults and Children
When breathing through the mouth, it is unable to produce enough saliva. This leads to a dry mouth condition, and is the second reason for a build-up of bacteria. The saliva naturally helps to pull the bacteria from the teeth, tongue and gums.
As well as causing more infections and leading to bad breath, the bacteria leads to gum disease, like gingivitis, which can lead to tooth decay and loss. This can also lead to other health problems, including heart attacks and stroke.
Are You a Mouth Breather?
Not everyone will realize that they are mouth breathers, especially if they mainly do it during the night. If you have crowded teeth, dry lips and mouth, or gummy smiles, you may be a mouth breather. A dentist will also be able to spot the signs early, so visiting regularly is important.
There isn't always something you can do to change mouth breathing without surgery. It's important to look after your oral health as much as possible, and talk to your dentist about options available to prevent the risks.
Contact a dental office like Stones River Dental for more information.