Why is it Important to Breathe Through Your Nose?
The importance of breathing through your nose cannot be overstated, because mouth-breathing can lead to some pretty unpleasant health issues, including the worsening of sleep apnea, for patients who are affected by that disorder. You may have heard your children say, “I can’t breathe through my nose” at various times, and that may actually be true when a severe cold blocks their nasal passages, but otherwise breathing through the nose should be the norm for everyone. Breathing through the nose helps to filter out impurities in the air, and it also serves to warm up air so it doesn’t irritate the lungs, which makes nose breathing much preferable to mouth-breathing.
Signs of chronic mouth-breathing
If you suspect that your child may be constantly breathing through the mouth, there are some signs you can look for which will help confirm that fact. Constant dry mouth or dry nose are two of these symptoms, as are persistent bad breath, dry or chapped lips, and hoarseness. Children who breathe through their mouths at night may alter the anatomy of their airway passages, and can worsen any symptoms of sleep apnea they may have. Having a constantly dry mouth means that bacteria will not be efficiently removed, and that can lead to all kinds of problems like gingivitis, or throat and ear infections.
Causes of mouth-breathingA physical deformity in the nose can lead to persistent mouth-breathing, for instance if a person has a deviated septum, or swollen adenoids. The nasal septum is a thin membrane made of cartilage which separates the two nostrils, and if this is not positioned in the middle of the nostrils, it can make breathing difficult. Chronic nasal congestion is another condition which can lead to excessive mouth-breathing, and that in turn can cause a number of other health issues.
Nasal decongestants can treat congestion caused by allergies or colds, but if you experience chronic allergies or prolonged congestion from a cold, you may consult your doctor for other causes. Another temporary option could be a nasal dilator across the bridge of your nose to decrease air flow resistance and help your breathing become less labored. Steroid nasal sprays can also be of help, because they will help to clear up nasal congestion, and allow for freer breathing.
What you can do to stop mouth-breathing
Children might be helped by a surgical procedure to remove swollen adenoids or tonsils which are affecting their breathing. People bothered by obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by wearing a face mask at night which delivers a constant supply of air to the nose and prevents airways from becoming blocked or collapsing.
Prolonged mouth-breathing, difficulty breathing through the nose or obstructive sleep apnea may be a sign of a larger issue. If you experience these issues, treatment is available to provide a permanent solution and a better night’s sleep.
Contact the Breathing and Sleep Center of Colorado Springs to learn more about how you can eliminate your sleeping and breathing issues.