Why Breathing Through Your Mouth is BadDec 05, 2022
Breathing is something that we do every day, but how often are we conscious of where we are breathing in our body and the impacts this can have on our overall health? There is now a new understanding that breathing through your mouth can actually be extremely harmful to your health, causing a range of mental and physical health issues. Instead, scientists are now encouraging people to breathe through their noses instead.
In this article, we will explore in greater depth exactly why breathing through your mouth is bad and, alternatively, why breathing through your nose is healthier. We will then go over a few tips and tricks to support you in the shift away from mouth breathing and toward nose breathing. So, take a deep breath, and let’s dive in!
The Harms of Mouth Breathing
Breathing through your mouth is sometimes a necessity when you have a bad cold or sinus congestion from allergies, and that is entirely understandable and does not cause any harm. But if you regularly breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, this can actually have a negative impact on your overall health.
Do you struggle with smelly breath or gum disease? Well, mouth breathing might just be the underlying cause for this! Mouth breathing can also worsen the symptoms of various respiratory illnesses and increase your likelihood of viral and bacterial infection. Additionally, mouth breathing can cause subtle deformities to your facial structure over time, resulting in a long, narrow facial structure and poor posture.
For children who are regular mouth breathers, research shows that mouth breathing may be the underlying cause of crooked teeth and reduced physical growth and maturation. Mouth breathing influences hormonal levels in children, leading to a decrease in growth hormones and stunted development.
Mouth breathing is also related to the onset of sleep apnea, a severe sleep disorder that can have a wide-ranging impact on your overall health. Sleep apnea can lead to further sleep issues and fatigue and may contribute to the onset of diabetes, liver issues, and heart disease.
When you breathe through your nose, your body produces a compound called nitric oxide, which supports your immune system with its antiviral and antibacterial properties. This essential anti-inflammatory compound is vital to promote your overall wellbeing and can be lacking in people who are mouth breathers.
Why Breathing Through Your Nose is Healthier
In addition to all the reasons why breathing through your mouth is bad, there are also many important reasons that nose breathing can further protect your health. Your nose and the tiny hairs inside of it act as a filter, retaining small particles that may try to come inside. This protective barrier can keep dangerous contaminants from entering into your body, which your mouth does not have.
Additionally, nose breathing gently adds moisture and heat to your breath, preventing the drying out of your lungs and further infection. This is especially important during the winter when the cold, dry air can be very harmful to your respiratory health.
Although you may look at your nose and believe that there is less air coming in, when you breathe through your nose, it actually increases the resistance and tension in your lungs, which enhances the uptake of oxygen in your body, which can actually improve your overall oxygen levels when compared to mouth breathing. This is also due to the fact that mouth breathing lowers CO2 levels faster than when one breathes through the nose and CO2 is necessary to transport oxygen to the cells. This is known as the Bohr Effect.
Finally, it is essential to note that mouth breathing is also common during strenuous exercise to increase the amount of oxygen sent to your muscles, and this is a normal and non-harmful reaction. That being said, the more that you can breathe through your nose during strenuous exercise, the more you can train your body to do so in your everyday life, which will beneficially support your mental and physical health.
5 Tips to Support Nose Breathing and Change Your Breathing Habits
Practice Breathwork Through Your Nose
The more that you train your breath to move through your nose, the easier it will be to engage in nose breathing throughout your day. One of the best ways to consciously switch to nose breathing is by practicing at least 10 minutes of dedicated breathwork through your nose every morning.
Try Mouth Taping
Many of the health issues related to mouth breathing are worse during the night as we do not have as much conscious control over our breath. There is a popular new technique to address this issue called mouth taping. Now, the idea of taping your mouth closed while sleeping may sound frightening, but there are actually special tape products made for this purpose that can easily open if needed to help reduce some of this anxiety.
Challenge Yourself with Movement While Nose Breathing
One of the most common times that we switch to mouth breathing is when our heart rate begins to pick up. But over time, you can start to train your body to increase its tolerance to nose breathing by exercising and consciously trying to breathe through your nose. You will likely only be able to do this for a short period of time initially. Still, gradually you can extend your exercise with a nose breathing practice to improve your endurance.
Engage in Self-Awareness
The simplest way to switch to mouth breathing is to build a mindful awareness of your breath throughout the day. Breathing is something that we are constantly doing. So, we cannot be constantly aware of our breath. An excellent way to start this practice is by setting a mindful timer that goes off every hour where you can check in on your breath and consciously switch to nose breathing. Eventually, your body will get into the rhythm of nose breathing and mindfulness, and you won’t need to rely on this as much.
Don’t Expect Perfection
It is essential to be kind and patient with yourself as you make this transition from mouth breathing to nose breathing. For many of us, mouth breathing has become a profoundly ingrained habitual pattern, and those patterns are typically the hardest to break. But by staying dedicated to this transition, you can work through any anxiety around perfectionism and just start from the beginning each day with a fresh mind.
Transform Your Breathing Patterns from Mouth Breathing to Nose Breathing
Learning how to change your breathing patterns from mouth breathing to nose breathing takes time and dedication. Having a constant awareness of your breath and building breathwork into your daily life can significantly support this process. To help you become a nose breather and improve your health, make sure to check out our online breathwork courses for more information!
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