While practices such as brushing and flossing are the major focus of dental health, and for good reason, there are many other ways to maintain a healthy mouth, as well as unhealthy practices to avoid.
One practice to avoid is mouth breathing, something many people do without even realizing it, leaving them unaware of the side effects it could be causing.
The many problems associated with mouth breathing were recognized in a study published in the January/February 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.
Mouth breathing, which is particularly widespread among children, can lead to allergies, as well as long-term dental side effects, such as abnormal facial development, gingivitis, crooked teeth, gummy smiles and more. Mouth breathing can also affect overall health negatively, causing people, especially children, to experience a lower quality of sleep, poor oxygen concentration in the bloodstream, and other issues that may even be misdiagnosed as attention deficit disorder (ADD) related.
In the case of tooth decay, mouth breathing can lead to a lack of saliva in the mouth, which is bad news, because saliva is a natural defense against cavities due to its ability reduce acid and bacteria build-up on teeth. This problem is also especially prevalent in older people.
Crooked teeth can be caused because mouth breathers rest their tongues on the top of their mouths, causing cheek muscles to relax and rest on the upper teeth. The sequence can cause the upper jaw to become narrow, leading to crooked teeth down the road.
Finally, gingivitis, or bad breath, is caused in large part by a poor balance of oral bacteria. That balance is disturbed when people breathe through their mouths and create a dry environment.
Many people who suffer from these symptoms don’t even realize what may be causing them, but once the cause is identified, different treatments and lifestyle changes can be recommended.
Dentists often have the ability to recognize mouth breathers, and can check for symptoms and problems such as swollen tonsils.
Oftentimes, patients can fix the problem on their own through using proper breathing techniques, but other more comprehensive treatments may be needed in some cases.
Getting the proper treatment for mouth breathing can significantly improve quality of life for many people.
For more information on achieving a healthy mouth and smile, stop into one of our nine Convenient locations!