Breathing through the mouth – Causes, symptoms & harmful effects

Is mouth breathing bad for your health?

In human beings nasal passages perform multiple tasks, the air we breathe when it goes through the nasal passages gets warmed, humidified and filtered before it reaches our lungs. Dust, allergic items like pollen and other debris which may carry microbes are removed thereby acting as a natural filter and a first line of defence. We are deprived of these benefits when we breathe through our nose. Also nose performs the dual purpose of sensing smell which is totally lost when we breathe through our mouth.

mouth breathing bad
What causes mouth breathing

What causes mouth breathing?

There may be various causes for mouth breathing and it may vary from children to adults. The common causes of mouth breathing are as follows –

  1. Blocked sinuses
  2. Swollen tonsils or adenoids
  3. Deviated septum
  4. Obstruction of nostrils
  5. Facial irregularities
  6. Dental issues
  7. Allergies
  8. Chronic respiratory infections

Children or adults who breathe through their mouth chronically may be deprived of sleep which may cause long periods of fatigue, affecting studies and work. Prolonged mouth breathing may result in facial and dental abnormalities making matters worse. It is also noticed that mouth breathing may result in insufficient oxygen supply causing heart issues, high blood pressure, snoring and sleep apnea.

Hence it is highly advisable to visit an ENT doctor if you notice a prolonged period of mouth breathing. Often in kids, mouth breathing manifests as mouth odour, snoring and irritable behaviour due to insufficient sleep.

You can consult a doctor if your family members exhibit any of the following symptoms –

  1. Snoring
  2. Bad breath
  3. Dry mouth and hoarseness of voice
  4. Chronic fatigue and tiredness
  5. ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
  6. Nasal tone while speaking

Early detection always results in taking necessary corrective measures thereby preventing lasting damage and issues at school or work. Book an appointment with the ENT experts at Dr. Rao’s ENT to diagnose your mouth breathing issues.

About the author

Dr. Chaitanya Rao, Managing director at Dr. Rao’s ENT group of hospitals has 10 years experience in the field of ENT.

His special areas of interest include Nose & sinus surgeries, Otology, Snoring and sleep apnea surgeries. During his Post-graduation itself he was invited as a visiting physician to House Institute of Medical sciences, Los Angeles; Rhinology and Anterior skull base unit, Ohio State University Medical Centre, Columbus, Ohio and University of Michigan from where he picked up his skills.

He plays a key role (Course Director & co-ordinator) in giving hands on training to around 150 ENT surgeons every year from all around the world for initiating and improving their ENT surgical skills as a part of Hyderabad ENT Research Foundation initiatives.

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