Have you ever paid attention to how you breathe as you fall asleep at night? While the most common way to breathe is through the nose, some individuals may notice that they breathe primarily through their mouths. This typically occurs when a person is suffering from congestion due to allergies, sinus problems, inflammation, or a physical obstruction. While these breathing restrictions might not seem like a big deal, they can lead to breathing issues as an adult.
The team at ApneaMed has outlined how mouth breathing can negatively impact your health and what you can do to resolve your breathing issues.
Why Is Nasal Breathing Preferred Over Mouth Breathing?
If you’re a mouth breather, you may be wondering why nasal breathing is the preferred method. While breathing from your mouth allows you to get the oxygen you need, it also makes you susceptible to a host of other issues. These include:
- Bacteria and viruses – Your nose acts as a filter to keep germs, allergens, and dust out of your system. When you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, these germs, viruses, and bacteria enter your system more easily due to the lack of filtration. They can lead to lung infections and tonsil inflammation.
- Dry mouth – Did you know that mouth breathers are more likely to experience problems with their oral hygiene? Breathing through your mouth often leads to excessive dry mouth — and dry mouth is a leading cause of gum disease and cavities.
- Neck, back, and facial pain – In comparison to nasal breathers, oral breathers often lean their heads in a slightly forward position. Because of this position, a curvature of their neck occurs, resulting in neck, back, and facial pain.
- Snoring and sleep apnea – Mouth breathers are notorious for snoring. Similarly, breathing through the mouth can also increase the risk that the patient will be affected by sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome.
Mouth Breathing and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
As a mouth breather, you need to know how oral breathing can put you at risk for sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to repeatedly stop breathing throughout the night due to the soft tissues in your throat collapsing. When breathing through your mouth, you increase the chance of airway collapse and nasal congestion.
While mouth breathing can lead to sleep apnea, the patient might become intolerant to common sleep apnea treatments like AutoPAP and CPAP therapy. However, these breathing machines are still an effective way to promote continuous breathing throughout the night. While they may not fully resolve a mouth breather’s sleep apnea, they should be part of their sleep apnea treatment.
How to Improve Your Sleep as a Mouth Breather
Are you ready to get a good night’s sleep? Here are a few recommendations for mouth breathers to improve your sleep:
- Schedule an appointment with an ENT – To make it possible for you to breathe through your nose, you need to clear up any nasal congestion you are experiencing. Resolving allergy and congestion issues will help clear your nose, thus making it easier for nasal breathing.
- Take an at-home sleep study – Testing for sleep apnea will allow you to have a sleep specialist review data that tracks your breathing while sleeping. From there, they’ll be able to recommend a sleep apnea treatment plan to alleviate your breathing issues.
- Maintain a clean, dust-free home – Regularly cleaning your home to rid it of allergens, dust, and dander can improve any nasal congestion you might be experiencing.
As a mouth breather, you need to find ways to encourage your body to breathe through your nose instead. Not only will it improve your health, but it will make a significant impact on your quality of sleep if you’re also suffering from sleep apnea.
Struggling to Get a Good Night’s Sleep? ApneaMed Can Help
If you’re struggling to sleep through the night, ApneaMed is here to help you get the best night’s sleep possible. Take a home sleep test so a board-certified sleep physician can determine which products will alleviate your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.