Chronic mouth breathing can have detrimental health effects if left unchecked. You may be able to consciously avoid it during the day, but many people suffer from mouth breathing at night when they are unaware that it is occurring. Excessive breathing through the mouth can lead to snoring, bad breath, immune deficiencies and dental problems. If you're a mouth breather during the night, you may be able to adjust to breathing through the nose while you sleep by implementing one or more methods.
Eliminate any allergens present. Nasal congestion may flare up if allergens are present where you sleep. Wash your bedding regularly and ensure any air filters in your home are kept clean to help reduce and eliminate any pollen or other irritating particles that might be present and affect your airways.
Wear a nasal strip or chin strap. These over-the-counter devices can help to open up constricted nasal airways. A chin strap forces you to breathe through the nose by securing your mouth shut while you sleep.
Elevate your head. Using a pillow designed to support your head in an elevated position can help alleviate nasal drip and open up congested airways so you can breathe easier through your nose.
Practice breathing exercises during the day. Sometimes it's just a matter of retraining your breathing patterns. If you consciously practice breathing in through your nose during the day you may be able to train your subconscious to continue breathing this way while you sleep. Set aside a few minutes each day and concentrate on nothing but practicing proper breathing techniques. Doing this just before bed in addition to your daytime session may also be a positive reinforcement that could help.
Chronic mouth breathing may be a sign of sleep apnoea, dental problems or other conditions. Consult with your physician if the condition persists.