Masks and Mouth Breathing

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times: Breathing through your nose is best for your body. But, socially, many people think breathing out of the nose is better, too, as being a ‘mouth breather’ has become an insult associated with stupidity or inability to grasp concepts.

While we certainly don’t believe that, we do know that some people are concerned about picking up the habit of breathing through the mouth because they have to wear a mask in public. As a result, we’ve set out to answer the question, ‘Will wearing a mask turn you into a mouth breather?’

Why Breathing Through the Nose is Best

What are the advantages of nasal breathing for the body? Nasal breathing is better because the nose makes nitric oxide, which helps your lungs absorb oxygen. So, in short, nasal breathing means more oxygen — up to 90 percent more!

Nitric oxide also plays a role in helping your blood vessels expand and your muscles relax.

Additional benefits of nitric oxide include antiparasitic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, which means a healthier you!

Other benefits of nasal breathing include blocking out small particles such as dust, pollen and pollution; adding moisture to the air you breathe in; helping to prevent the lungs and bronchial tubes from drying out; and increasing lung elasticity resistance to the airstream when you breathe in.

Why Is Mouth Breathing Bad? 

In addition to not having the benefits of nasal breathing, mouth breathing can change your facial structure, which will result in premature aging, a weaker-looking jaw and crooked teeth. Some individuals who chronically breathe through their mouths also experience sleep apnea, weight gain or obesity, cognitive problems, and dementia.

Back to the Mask

Some people switch from nasal breathing to mouth breathing with a mask on because they feel claustrophobic. If you’re concerned about mouth breathing but want to wear a mask, you can correct yourself before it becomes a habit.

Try this: Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth, close your lips, and take a deep breath for five seconds. Hold your breath for one or two seconds and then exhale for about six to seven seconds. Repeat. This exercise should help you feel more comfortable and regulate your nasal breathing.

If you’re not able to switch to nasal breathing with your mask on, you may want to schedule a consultation to discuss potential problems that could be going on, such as a malformed nasal structure, narrow airway or bite malocclusion.

So, can wearing a mask make you a chronic mouth breather? The answer is not for the long term. But if you’re noticing breathing through your mouth regularly, it’s time to call Legends Dental at 254-799-9540 for more information about how we can help.