Believe it or not, mouth breathing is a serious oral health problem that affects not only your mouth, but your entire body.

Despite its importance however, mouth breathing is often completely overlooked as an oral health issue. Many don’t even know that it can be a problem at all.

We’ve talked about its effect on children. However, mouth breathing adults can also be found too!

This week, our Armadale dentist takes a close look at the health effects of mouth breathing adults.


Why do people breathe through their mouths?

We have two air passageways to our lungs – one from the nose, and the second from the mouth. Humans are wired to use the first one, save for a handful of unique circumstances, like an especially nasty cold that blocks your nose.

When you go for your evening jog, breathing through your mouth brings more oxygen to your lungs.

And when cleaning out your cat’s litter box, it’s the only way to avoid inhaling some nasty smells!

There’s nothing wrong with one-off instances of mouth breathing like these. It’s when you’re breathing through your mouth on the daily that it becomes a problem.

The most common cause for mouth breathing in adults is an obstructed airway. This can include partial or complete blockages, like:

  • Medical conditions that block your nose passage
  • Inflammation arising from allergic reactions
  • Sinus infections
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • And sometimes, it’s simply a habit you can’t break!


Why mouth breathing in adults is a problem?

Many people completely dismiss mouth breathing as an oral health issue. Take it from us however, mouth breathing adults are at risk of contracting many different oral health conditions.

How mouth breathing leads to bad breath

Mouth breathing dries out your mouth. A dry mouth means less saliva. And a lack of saliva means there’s nothing to wash the “bad” bacteria out of your mouth.

Bacteria in your mouth is directly linked to many oral health problems, with one of the most obvious being halitosis – or as it’s more commonly known, bad breath.

Simply put, “bad” bacteria stinks. And a dry mouth is like a 5-star hotel for foul-smelling bacteria.

With nothing to wash it away, bacteria is free to linger – while effective dental hygiene can help you manage bad breath, the only way to stop it for good is to attack the root cause.

And if you breathe through your mouth, that means kicking the mouth breathing habit!

Mouth breathing, gum disease and cavities: what’s the link?

Bacteria doesn’t just smell – it’s also a leading cause of gum disease and cavities.

A build-up of plaque around the gums can cause inflammation and infection. In some instances, it can even weaken the parts of the gum that keep your teeth in place!

These Bacteria also eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Bacteria feeds on food residue and creates acids as a by-product that can potentially rot away your teeth. The result? Cavities.

Click here to learn more about the causes of gum disease.

The complex relationship between mouth breathing and oxygen

Have you heard of the mouth-body connection?

If you haven’t, here’s a quick run-down: the mouth is the link to the rest of your body. Even small problems with your oral health can spill over to the rest of your body!

The effects of mouth breathing aren’t just limited to oral health problems. Case in point: the oxygen levels in your blood.

While breathing through our mouths does allow more oxygen to come into our bodies, according to some studies, it does this at the expense of reducing lower oxygen concentration and blood flow.

That’s because your sinuses release nitrogen oxide (NO) . NO dilates your veins, increasing blood flow – since your sinuses are located in your nose, mouth breathing adults miss out on these benefits.

According to other researchers, they might even experience less oxygen making its way to their muscles (hypoxia).

Your nose is an air filter

There’s a lot of junk floating around in the air. Fortunately for us, our noses are a great filter, stopping most particles and toxins in the air from reaching our lungs!

While unpleasant, mucus does indeed serve a purpose: when you breathe in through your nose, it traps toxins and kills microbes before it reaches your lungs, protecting you from their harmful effects.

Additionally, the small diameter of the nasal passage also acts as a bottleneck, increasing your nose’s ability to catch air particles.

Needless to say, when you breathe through your mouth, you risk these nasty mystery particles entering your bloodstream!


Fighting back against mouth breathing

So, you breathe through your mouth. That’s a problem – fortunately, there are ways to cure yourself of your mouth breathing.

If you breathe through your mouth out of habit, it’s possible to train yourself to use your nose instead. Training can be done from home or with professional breathing therapists.

How your local dentist helps you overcome mouth breathing

One of the best people to go to for information about mouth breathing however is your dentist. As your overall oral health specialist, we can look after much more than just your teeth – we help keep your entire mouth healthy!

Your Armadale dentist can help by:

  • Assessing mouth breathing symptoms
  • Identifying nasal obstructions
  • Prescribing corrective tools to expand and improve your airways


armadale dentist


Are you a mouth breather? Contact our Armadale dentist to tackle this habit

Located right on the borders between Armadale, Malvern and Prahran, Dental Care Group offers comprehensive dental treatments for all sorts of oral health problems.

And that includes things you mightn’t immediately associate with dentists, like mouth breathing!

Our state-of-the-art facility is fully equipped to deal with all sorts of oral problems.

Book an appointment with our team of Armadale dentists today.

Got a question? We’d be happy to help – contact our friendly staff on (03) 9509 1500 or fill in this form and we will be in touch.