As I am going through my Airway-Focused Dentistry Residency, its hit me like a ton of bricks how important it is to breathe through our nose. While this may sound obvious, many of us revert to bad mouth-breathing habits, especially in our sleep, and we don’t even know it! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I recently finished reading the book “Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life” by George Catlin, written in 1870. He traveled throughout North America observing the daily habits of Native Americans of various tribes. The most striking difference between Native Americans and Europeans was the emphasis the Native Americans placed on nasal breathing. In fact, many mothers stayed up most of the night to make sure their babies were breathing through their noses and not their mouths. Nasal breathing places the tongue against the palate which properly develops the bone structure and teeth alignment of the upper face and, according to Catlin, led to fewer illnesses. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Mouth breathing is a risk factor for gum disease and tooth loss. A mouth that is dry is sticky and will retain more germs. One of the signs might be bad breath. The pH of a dry mouth is also more acidic, leading to the overgrowth of harmful germs that cause cavities and gum disease. As a periodontist, I am dedicated to fighting gum disease and helping my patients retain their natural teeth.
If you think you might be mouth breathing at night in your sleep, I recommend the simple practice of mouth taping. A small piece of surgical tape is placed vertically in the middle of the mouth to remind you to keep your lips closed in your sleep. You can watch the video below for more details. Many of my patients report improved sleep after adopting the habit of mouth taping. Nose breathing delivers more oxygen to the brain so the brain can relax during sleep and go into the deeper phases. Of course, sleep is very complicated and nose breathing is just one aspect of deep sleep.
If you think you have gum disease or you have been told you need to remove your teeth due to gum disease feel free to schedule a consultation to see if we can save your teeth using LANAP laser gum treatment. Call (310) 205-0900 to schedule an appointment.