Improve Your Breathing with Myofunctional Exercises
Do you find yourself waking up with jaw pain, a dry mouth, and congestion? Have you noticed that you often breathe through your mouth rather than your nose? Although mouth breathing is commonly seen in children, many adults unknowingly suffer from the same condition.
Here are the answers to common questions about what mouth breathing is, why it’s bad for your health, and how it’s treated with myofunctional therapy.
What’s the difference between mouth and nasal breathing?
The answer to this question may seem obvious initially, but there’s much more to it when considering the effects of both types of breathing on the body.
Nasal breathing is preferred because your nose acts as a sort of biological air filter. Your nasal cavities are loaded with visible hairs, but hidden amongst those are microscopic hairs called cilia. Your more prominent nostril hairs trap larger air debris while the cilia trap fine dust, allergens, and other tiny particles.
Because your nostril cavities are quite a wet environment, inhaling nasally humidifies the air. The air also mixes with nitric oxide within the sinus cavity, which helps absorb oxygen. Because it takes longer to exhale nasally, up to 20% more oxygen is absorbed nasally than orally.
In contrast, mouth breathing offers no natural air filtration or humidifying effect when breathing, and is less efficient because oxygen absorption is impaired. Additionally, mouth breathing can also harm your health when it becomes a chronic habit.
How does breathing through my mouth harm my health?
Mouth breathing can cause a wide range of health issues, including:
- Xerostomia (dry mouth).
- Nasal congestion.
- Halitosis (bad breath).
- Daytime fatigue.
- Poor tongue and jaw posture.
Many of these health issues also increase a person’s risk of developing further dental or general health problems. For example, people with xerostomia are at a much higher risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease because dry mouth conditions exacerbate plaque build-up.
Additionally, poor tongue and jaw posture can physically change a person’s face over time, resulting in the stereotypical elongated, slack-jawed appearance. The added tension on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can also lead to a TMJ disorder and jaw pain.
What is myofunctional therapy, and how does it treat mouth breathing?
Orofacial myofunctional therapy is essentially a way to retrain your facial muscles to reduce or resolve disorders impacting the mouth and face.
Treatment programs are non-invasive and consist of practicing a series of movement exercises to improve the function and posture of the tongue, lips, and throat muscles. A wide range of different exercises can be used, but your myofunctional therapist will select a specific series of movements that match your needs.
Myofunctional therapy is very effective at treating mouth breathing. The exercises are designed to widen the airway and retrain your tongue and jaw to rest at a normal posture that encourages nasal breathing. Most treatment plans range from four to 12 weeks of guided therapy. Of course, that is the average span of treatment time, and your treatment plan will vary based on your exact needs. Almost all patients undergoing this therapy will still continue practicing certain exercises to maintain their results. Think of it like wearing a retainer to keep your teeth straight after braces.
What benefits will I experience from reversing it?
You may not notice immediate results from your first or second myofunctional therapy sessions, but as you continue working with the therapist and following your at-home instructions, you’ll be surprised at how soon you start to experience the benefits.
As you relearn how to breathe through your nose, you’ll find that your mouth no longer feels like the Sahara Desert and your nasal congestion improves. The more you practice breathing nasally, the easier it will be. Soon you’ll catch yourself mouth breathing less and less until it becomes a rarity. Best of all, you’ll feel less tension in your jaw, and develop a more youthful and defined shape to your face.
The long-term benefits you’ll experience include higher quality sleep, which means you’ll feel much more awake and focused during the day. Your oral health will also be easier to maintain, and, with a dentist’s guidance, battles with tooth decay and gum disease can become a thing of the past.
Find relief from breathing through your mouth at Ada Smile Place.
If you’re tired of mouth breathing and are ready to learn how myofunctional therapy can improve your overall health, the first step is to schedule a consultation. During your consultation, you’ll learn more about your mouth breathing habit, why it might have developed, and how orofacial myofunctional treatment can relieve your symptoms.
Book a visit at Ada Smile Place today via phone or online request.