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People normally breathe through their nose and only through the mouth when necessary. Mouth breathing tends to happen when you’re:
Nasal breathing is better for your health. Nose breathing has many advantages over mouth breathing, including:6
Occasional mouth breathing is normal, but chronic mouth breathing can lead to health problem, including:1, 4
Usually, mouth breathing happens because of an obstructed nasal airway. A partial or complete blockage can prevent airflow into the nasal passages.
If your body can't get enough oxygen through your nose, it turns to mouth breathing.
Several conditions cause blocked nasal airways and increase the risk of mouth breathing, including:2
There are a few signs that point to chronic mouth breathing. It’s important to note that children can have additional symptoms.
Mouth breathing can cause various symptoms, including:3
Additional symptoms for children may include:
The treatment for mouth breathing depends on the underlying cause. It may include:1
It may not always be possible to prevent mouth breathing. However, you can lower your risk by:7
Mouth breathing is highly treatable and has a positive outlook. You can reduce the risk of long-term complications by seeking treatment as soon as possible.
It's important to see your doctor if you’re experiencing chronic mouth breathing. They can perform a physical examination to identify the cause of any persistent nasal congestion.
They may ask about your symptoms and if you experience the following issues:
Once they find the underlying cause, they can recommend treatment.
Your dentist may diagnose mouth breathing during a routine dental examination. They may notice that you have bad breath, frequent cavities, or gum disease (fiery red gums) that does not appear to be associated with the usual causes.
If your doctor or dentist notices symptoms, they may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
People should usually breathe through their nose because this warms, humidifies, and filters inhaled air. However, nasal obstructions can cause someone to breathe through their mouth.
Mouth breathing is a common problem that can lead to health complications if left untreated. These include sleep disorders, facial structure changes, tooth decay, gum disease, poorly aligned teeth, and jaw problems.
Visit a doctor to discuss treatment options if you have symptoms of mouth breathing. It's highly treatable with medications, dental appliances, and surgery.
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