Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI
Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat are signs that you breathe through your mouth at night. You might not know it, but mouth breathing can have serious consequences for your health. A study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation recently showed that breathing through your mouth during sleep makes you more likely to have cavities. In this article, our Royal Oak sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, wants to explore this issue, and share ways that Hartrick Dentistry can help.
How You Breathe Matters
The same study found that people who breathe through their mouths suffer from considerably greater changes in the pH levels in their mouths. Specifically, the study found that many individuals who breathe with their mouth closed experiences a drop to a 3.3 pH during sleep.
As you may already know, higher acidity in the mouth can destroy the enamel on your teeth. This is true whether the cause is an accelerated drop in pH levels, or consuming a diet with too many acidic foods and drinks. People who breathe with their mouths open increase their oral acidity to nearly 200 times higher than that of a 5.5 pH, which is already low enough to start deteriorating tooth enamel. Once your enamel erodes, it becomes much easier for decay to infiltrate your teeth, forming cavities.
The Causes of Mouth Breathing
Any of the following pre-existing conditions or lifestyle choices can make it mouth breathing more likely.
- Chronic sinus problems
- Sleep Apnea
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
- Enlarged tonsils
Other Risks of Mouth Breathing
Your tooth enamel isn’t the only thing in jeopardy from mouth breathing. Mouth breathing can lead to a severe sleep-breathing disorder called sleep apnea. This disorder restricts your airflow while asleep. The habit of mouth breathing also lowers oxygen levels. For children, mouth breathing interferes with jaw growth and development, creating a whole new set of possible issues, including longer faces, narrow dental arches, and airway issues.
How We Can Help
Hartrick Dentistry can help you properly breathe while sleeping. Mouth taping, otherwise known as the Buteyko method, is a short-term remedy that entails placing a small piece of tape over the mouth, essentially forcing your body to breathe through the nose while you sleep.
We also can provide myofunctional therapy. This consists of performing a series of simple exercises that work the tongue in combination with the muscles of the mouth and face. These exercises re-train your orofacial system to achieve the ideal oral resting posture—with lips together, teeth closed, and the tongue resting gently against the upper palate. This posture also predisposes you to breathe through the nose, as recommended, rather than through the mouth.
Treating Mouth Breathing in Royal Oak
Mouth breathing may not seem important to you now, but once cavities are creeping into your teeth, it will. Cavities can cause toothaches, tooth loss, gum disease, and a lot of other painful symptoms in the long run. And this is just one of the issues that can develop due to mouth breathing. To learn more or find out how Hartrick Dentistry can help, contact our office to schedule a consultation by calling (248) 549-0950, if you’re in the areas of Birmingham or Royal Oak, Michigan.