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How Keeping Your Mouth Shut Is Good For Your Health

I have never been known for keeping my mouth shut. In fact, I would often get told, “One day your mouth is going to get you into a lot of trouble!” I’ve recently discovered research proving this statement to be true, but not in the way my parents and teachers originally intended…

IMG_E9108I am referring to the habit of mouth breathing. Mouth breathing has been shown to reduce the oxygen available to your brain and nervous system and make you more prone to sickness.

If you look at the design of the human body you can tell that we are designed to breathe through our nose. The lining of our nose is lined with small cilia which act to warm and filter the air that we breathe in. Mouth breathers don’t use this built-in filtration system so we expose our lungs to a larger number amount of bacteria, viruses etc.

Why Nose Breathing is Better Than Mouth Breathing

– When you nose breath it encourages us to use our costal (rib) muscles more creating a greater movement of our ribs. This also helps to stimulate and activate the respiratory centres of the brain.

– Nose breathing makes your breath longer and slower which increases the oxygenation of the blood.

-Nose breathing stimulates receptors in the nose that react to chemicals that bacteria use to communicate. They stimulate nitric oxide that kills bacteria. This is important to help maintain a proper bacterial balance in the nose.

- Increased airflow through the right nostril is correlated to increased left brain activity and enhanced verbal performance, whereas increased airflow through the left nostril is associated with increased right brain activity and enhanced coordination.

– Mouth breathing causes the worsening of sleep apnea, dry mouth, headaches, asthma, rashes, anxiety and ear infections.

– Mouth breathing results in lower CO2 levels in muscles which causes all muscles (including the diaphragm) to spasm more

– Mouth breathing has shown to be the biggest factor in causing bad breath.

– Nose breathers have better posture than mouth breathers.

– In people with pre-existing cardiovascular or lung problems, mouth breathing during or after exercise can result in less oxygen and possible death!

What Can You Do To Stop Mouth Breathing?

There are many devices out there that claim to stop mouth breathing by holding your jaw or mouth closed while you sleep. To be honest, I don’t know how safe or effective that is for you especially if you have some issues with your nose becoming blocked due to a cold/allergies or a previous nose injury.

My suggestion is to practice nose breathing while you are awake. The best two times to practice nose breathing are 1) when you are huffing and puffing through exercise and  2) while doing some meditation where you sit quietly and focus solely on your nasal breathing. When you start doing this, make sure you take some tissues as it can make your nose start to unblock.

 

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