Breathing techniques to soothe oral ailments
SUMMARY: As something that we do to keep ourselves alive, breathing isn't often seen as a calming and restorative practice.
Posted: April 15, 2013
Although we all need our breath to survive, most people do not reap the benefits of conscious breathing. Some of us sip in just enough air to get our oxygen fix, but focusing on deep breathing can do much more than simply keep us alive. For example, deep breathing helps to strengthen the immune system, open the diaphragmatic muscles and release toxins. Do you suffer from allergies, asthma or post nasal drip? You may find conscious breathing helps weaken symptoms as well as the side effects of these ailments, such as dry mouth and bad breath.
Taking slow, deep breaths can give the body a chance to recuperate and heal, making it easier to digest food. Poor digestion is one of the leading causes of bad breath because food that you consume isn't able to break down properly. This leads to a release of gases through the mouth (or belching) and less-than-pleasant breath, especially if you're commonly consuming fatty or fried foods.
Focusing on breathing is extremely beneficial for people who suffer from asthma or even post nasal drip. Conscious breathing opens up restricted areas and muscles that play a role in creating a tightness of the breath and chest during an asthma attack. In these experiences, people will commonly breathe through their mouth, which prompts dry mouth and thus bad breath. Focusing on the breath can also help those who suffer from post nasal drip because this ailment can often make it challenging to breathe through the nose. Having the ability to focus solely on the in and out breath can make it easier to bring the breath through the nose when clogged nasal passages make this process difficult.
Anxiety and stress can wreak havoc on your entire body, and that includes the mouth. It's common to experience dry mouth when you're under extreme pressure from work or school. There are several reasons why this happens, including dehydration, acid backup, mouth breathing and fluid changes. If you're experiencing this side effect, think to yourself: "Have I had enough water?" If you're under a lot of pressure, there is a good chance you haven't been drinking a proper amount of fluids. Mouth breathing may be a cause of dry mouth for anyone going through a panic attack. During an anxiety attack, you feel as though you're gasping for breath – usually through your mouth. Doing breathing exercises can help immensely in these situations.
Some techniques to try
Breathing through the mouth is something that a lot of allergy and post nasal drip sufferers have to deal with on a regular basis. It can make it challenging to breathe, and create dry mouth and bad breath. One of the easiest breathing techniques, which is commonly practiced in yoga classes, is alternate nostril breathing. Start by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position so that the spine is straight. Then, you'll take the middle and pointer finger just above the nose, so that your thumb and ring finger are lightly sitting on top of the nostrils. Then, close the left nostril with the ring finger and take a deep breath through the right side. Switch the position of the fingers and breathe out the left. Then try that cycle starting with a breath in through the left and out through the right. You'll want to practice this for about five minutes to reap the full potential benefits.
This practice helps to cleanse the lungs, calm the mind, improve sleep and soothe the nervous system. It's also a great way to "force" the body to breathe through the nose.