Due to Chronic Nasal Obstruction (CNO), many of us are forced to breathe through the mouth. It may not even seem like that big of a deal, but mouth breathing can cause some serious oral health and facial development problems, especially in children. If you are not yet aware if you are a mouth breather, look for signs such as dry lips, chronic bad breath, airway infections, like sinus, ear, and colds, and crowded teeth.

Breathing through the nose ensures the air is filtered, warmed and moistened before it reaches our lungs. However, when breathing through the mouth, we are forced to take in cold, dry, and unpolluted air that can result in an excessively dry mouth. Under this condition, the saliva production is impeded, unable to wash bacteria and other acidic properties of food left behind. This results in bacterial build-up, eventually wearing down the enamel and making room for cavities and tooth decay.

Dry mouth is also one of the causes of gum disease, a serious oral health problem that not only affects the mouth but can be responsible for overall health issues, like stroke, child conception, and delivery issues, heart disease, and heart attacks. This happens when bacteria from the affected gums enter the bloodstream through excessive gum bleeding.

Humans are designed to breathe through their noses, but when they try breathing out of their mouths, their posture changes to keep the airway open. This may cause developmental problems, especially in children, who if left undiagnosed and untreated, can fall prey to a long and narrow face, flat nose and small nostrils, and thin pouty lips. It also promotes the growth of the upper jaw rather than the lower jaw, resulting in a gummy smile and large overbite.

Treating the problem as soon as it emerges is best to avoid long-term health problems. Keep your mouth hydrated with lots of fluid, and rubbing a little vitamin E oil on your gums will keep them from drying. Meet with your dentist and get a thorough dental exam to help you pick the problem and correct it before it worsens.