The effects of mouth breathing on dental health

mouth breathing

Mouth breathing not only affects your airway health, but your oral health too! Mouth breathers are at a higher risk of developing cavities and gum disease compared to nasal breathers.  

Mouth breathing creates xerostomia (dry mouth) due to a lack of saliva. Our saliva helps balance the pH levels in our mouths. An inadequate salivary flow can create an acidic oral environment, increasing the risk of enamel erosion and decay.  

Dry mouth can not only lead to cavities, but gingivitis as well. Saliva is important to help wash away plaque and food debris during talking, chewing and swallowing. When plaque is left on the teeth, harmful bacteria flourish creating inflammation of the gums called gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, creating bone loss around the teeth which is irreversible. Periodontitis increases the risk of tooth loss and health problems such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Halitosis (bad breath) can also develop when mouth breathing is present due to the harmful bacteria present in individuals with dry mouth. These harmful bacteria release foul smelling sulfur compounds resulting in bad breath.  

Do you brush and floss daily but still get cavities or have gum disease? It could be due to an unbalanced oral microbiome due to mouth breathing. Schedule an orofacial myofunctional therapy evaluation with one of our myofunctional therapists to assess for mouth breathing to maintain optimal oral health. 

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