You can't breathe through your nose in every situation. What if you have a cold or a stuffy nose? Or if you're exercising hard? What if you're asleep? Or if someone near you has halitosis? Still, these problems tend to be temporary, allowing you to freely use your nostrils the rest of the time - which is a good thing, because mouth breathing can increase your risk of getting tonsil stones.
Mouth breathing may be problematic
While it might seem like a non-issue, mouth breathing can lead to a number of potentially serious health problems. As the Globe and Mail's Dr. Sheila Wijayasinghe recently pointed out, this problematic form of breathing is not to be taken lightly.
"In terms of dental health, breathing through the mouth can dry the oral cavity and lead to bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay," she wrote in a recent article.
Why do people mouth breathe? Well, besides colds and allergies, there are several nasal problems that can make it harder to inhale and exhale through the nostrils, including polyps, enlarged adenoids or deviated septums.
Regardless of what causes this problem, its fallout can be serious. First and foremost, mouth breathing dries out the mouth and throat, allowing oral bacteria to break down tooth enamel and emit smelly gases. Furthermore, the microbes on your tonsils multiply faster when your saliva supply dwindles.
This means that as you swallow, you're slowly adding layers to any tonsil stones that may be lurking at the back of your throat. These little white accumulations of gunk really reek. If you happen to cough one up, it's not something you'll forget.
And there's more...
Wijayasinghe added that, beyond tonsil stones and halitosis, prolonged mouth breathing can cause even more serious problems, particularly among children.
"Children who mouth breathe can develop physical deformities and have poor outcomes in terms of behaviour and health," she wrote for the news source. "They may develop a smaller chin, have slower growth and give poor school performance due to fatigue and inattention."
Regardless of the cause of mouth breathing in children, they should be taken to the pediatrician or dentist in order to figure out a treatment plan, Wijayasinghe concluded.
As for adults, the best course of action is to try to consciously avoid mouth breathing during the daytime, drink a little water before bed and rinse with a periotherapy mouthwash when you wake up.