What Are the Dangers of Mouth Breathing?

Written by cicely a. richard
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What Are the Dangers of Mouth Breathing?
Mouth breathing disrupts your sleep cycle, leaving you fatigued during the day. (Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Normal breathing consists of inhaling and exhaling through the nose; mouth breathing occurs when oxygen no longer effectively flows through the nasal passage. Mouth breathing indicates that something has obstructed normal breathing patterns, and the mouth now serves as an oxygen passageway. The dangers of mouth breathing include causing or amplifying oral problems. Breathing through the mouth signifies that you are suffering from a serious health problem that requires medical attention.

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Bad Breath

Mouth breathing causes bad breath and makes the condition worse. It leads to bad breath because your mouth becomes dry and saliva production decreases. Saliva is your mouth's natural cleanser, ridding it of substances that cause bad breath, according to MayoClinic.com. Sleeping with an open mouth makes your morning breath worse because of dry mouth conditions.

Periodontal Disease

Mouth breathing leave you susceptible to periodontal disease, such as the gum disease gingivitis. It leads to periodontal diseases because the gums and teeth in the front of the mouth become severely dry. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh says a dry mouth makes it more susceptible to bacterial infections, cavities, gum inflammation and deterioration of the bones around the teeth.

Facial and Dental Problems

Facial and jaw deformities occur in children who breathe through their mouths. "Mouth breathing: Adverse effects on facial growth, health, academics, and behaviour" by Yosh Jefferson, DMD, MAGD says children who mouth breath have longer faces, narrow mouths, dental problems and enlarged gums. Left untreated, children experience narrow nasal passages and tooth crowding, conditions that require medical intervention.

Compromised Immune System

Mouth breathing leads to a compromised immune system, which causes health problems. Dr. Joseph Sarkissian, DDS, says breathing through your nose produces hormones that promote efficient blood circulation. Hampered circulations resulting from mouth breathing reduces hormone production, which weakens the immune system. Mouth breathing disrupts your sleep cycle, leaving your body tired and unable to ward off illness.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Mouth breathing is associated with obstructive sleep apnoea in adults and children. Sleep apnoea occurs when you stop breathing because something has obstructed your airway. "Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Primary Care," published by American Family Physician, says sleep apnoea causes you to feel fatigued during the day because of lack of sleep. You need treatment if have 20 or more respiratory disruptions an hour per night. If not treated, sleep apnoea increases your chances of suffering from heart failure.


Medical professionals diagnose the causes of mouth breathing, which include sinusitis, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, deviated septum and chronic hyperventilation. Physicians recommend surgery to remove obstructions preventing air from passing through the nasal canal. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, you may have to wear a CPAP, a device that regulates breathing as you sleep.

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