Chronic mouth breathing has long been a concern for dentists and orthodontists due to the problems it causes or contributes to

  1. Forward head posture (can lead to neck muscle pain, stiffness, fatigue and cervical joint damage)
  2. Headache
  3. V-shaped upper jaw and high palatal vault
  4. Malocclusion, anterior open bite
  5. TMJ dysfunction
  6. Under-developed nasal passages and/or under-developed jaw and cheekbones
  7. Deviated nasal septum
  8. Gummy smile
  9. Gum disease
  10. Dental decay
  11. Dry mouth and throat
  12. Increased allergen/airborne infection entry to lungs
  13. Chronic tonsil swelling
  14. Enlarged adenoids, polyps
  15. Noisy breathing
  16. Noisy eating
  17. Bad breath
  18. Excessive snoring at night
  19. Greater potential for relapse of orthodontic correction
  20. Increased mucous production
  21. Allergic shiners- constant dark circles under the eyes
  22. Hypocapnia (abnormally low levels of carbon dioxide in the small air sacs of the lungs and in the blood. 

Chronic mouth breathing is directly associated with hyperventilation.

With hyperventilation spasms of the diaphragm and chest muscles that create postural changes, e.g. forward head posture, which leads to mouth breathing. Over a prolonged period of time the lips and tongue loose muscle tone. The tongue does not sit in its correct position in the mouth and in severe cases the lips will no longer rest together and sometimes don't even meet! The normal development of the jaw, palate, teeth and upper airways are effected. Normal development of these structures requires normal breathing. That is soft nasal breathing most of the time with lips resting together along with diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation through all the respiratory muscles. With knowledge, understanding and breathing exercises in conjunction with orthodontics, hyperventilation may be rectified, the lips and the tongue strengthened to the point where they sit naturally together. Relaxation of respiratory muscles takes place and the process of restoring normal posture begins. All this supports the changes occurring through orthodontic treatment and helps to maintain them into adult life. The orthodontic work, in turn, supports healthy breathing by opening up the narrowed upper airways facilitating normal nasal breathing. {C}


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