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Is mouth breathing such a big deal? Well if you are doing hard exercise or if you have a cold and are stuffed up, then yes, of course it is normal to breathe through your mouth. However, if you breathe out of your mouth often instead of your nose, you may have an underlying problem (e.g. too much lymphoid tissue in the oral cavity), or you may be causing more problems!

For instance chronic mouth breathers may actually develop TMJ disorders. If you’ve had this habit since you were very little, then your jaw may have developed in such a way that not only are your teeth out of your alignment, but the disc in the temporomandibular joint is out of alignment as well.

If you can safely rule out mouth breathing, has some other ideas as to what may be causing your TMJ. Either way, TMJ from mouth breathing can extra stress, disturbed sleep, headaches, other issues:

8 possible causes of your patient’s jaw pain

As a periodontist, I frequently treat temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain or temporomandibular disorders (TMDs). Many of the causes of this type of jaw pain also can damage the jawbone around the roots of teeth.

In my experience, between 60% and 70% of adults have experienced some symptoms of TMD. Their most frequent complaint is pain either in the jaw joint or the jaw muscles. Patients often experience discomfort when opening their jaw, along with popping and cracking sounds in the jaw joints when opening and closing. Some patients also experience buzzing or ringing sounds in their ears.

TMDs are multifactorial, and their sources may be difficult to identify. I initially focus on the following eight related causes for TMDs:

  • Trauma (such as a car accident) involving the jaw joint, which could damage the joint structures
  • Clenching and grinding the teeth
  • Teeth that have been improperly restored or are out of alignment
  • Poor nutrition and unhealthy digestion, which could cause chronic inflammation and affect all joints in the body, such as in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Emotional stress, such as illustrated by a study by Lei and colleagues in Cranio (April 28, 2016).
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive estrogen, although studies vary
  • Infection in the joint

Many factors affect jaw pain. The more obvious causes should be explored first. If grinding habits or bite problems exist, these must be corrected. Stress reduction, restorative sleep, and good nutrition to provide proper hormone balance must be implemented to reduce TMD symptoms. If symptoms persist, other treatment options should be considered to make the patient comfortable. Read full article here . . .

You may think that TMJ is the worst of it, but believe it or not, there are even more issues due to mouth breathing. NBC News interviewed a Dr. Yosh Jefferson, an orthodontist, who has listed a litany of potential problems:

‘Mouth-breathing’ gross, harmful to your health

As Dr. Yosh Jefferson, a New Jersey functional orthodontist, explains, “Mouth-breathing also irritates the tonsils and adenoids, so you have a double whammy where the sinuses are congested, which causes further blockage of the upper airway.” Now you really can’t breathe out of that nose. What’s more, when you take in oxygen through your nose, it passes over the mucous membrane and into the sinuses, which produces nitric oxide, which your body needs for all the smooth muscles, like your heart and your blood vessels. So when you’re not breathing through your nose, your blood actually isn’t getting all the oxygen it needs to function properly.

Jefferson believes breathing though the mouth is often an overlooked root cause of many health and behavioral problems, particularly in school-age kids. (“Just think of the child,” he says. “How do you think they?re doing in school? These kids are tired, they?re irritable, they can?t concentrate in school. And a lot of these kids (may be) diagnosed with ADD and hyperactivity.”)

But here’s the absolute weirdest thing that mouth-breathing can cause: It can actually change the shape of kids’ faces, according to a report Jefferson published last year in the journal General Dentistry. “Severe mouth breathers develop what they call long face syndrome — long, narrow faces, very unattractive facial features. Also if their tonsils are swollen, they sometimes position their jaw in weird ways in order to get more oxygen into their bodies. It can happen in adults as well … but it?s more prominent in children,” Jefferson says. “People think they grew to this face because of genetics ?- it?s not, it?s because they’re mouth-breathers.” It’s reversible in children if it’s caught early — an orthodontist might use a device to expand the jaw, which will widen the mouth and open the sinuses, helping the child breathe through the nose again. (This can be done in adults, too, but it’s more difficult.)

“It’s best to treat them early,” Jefferson says. “It drives me crazy that there are so many kids who are mouth breathers and no one is doing anything about it. Read full article here . . .

It’s pretty staggering to find out that something as simple as keeping your mouth open could possibly affect your appearance–something we usually chalk up to genetics. However, because children are growing rapidly, their facial structures can change quickly as well. If you’ve been mouth breathing for a long time, you may have a recessed chin, a narrower face and jaws, a gummy smile, and less prominent cheekbones. Some of these problems can be fixed with cosmetic surgery and orthodontics.

Besides cosmetic differences, mouth breathing puts you at greater risk for bad breath, colds, gingivitis, and digestive issues due to oxygen deprivation. As you can see, it’s important for you to go to get an oral exam to see if your mouth breathing is the root of the problem, should you present with other symptoms.

A dentist can fit you with a mouthguard for either daytime or nighttime wear if you put lots of pressure on your jaws. And again, you can look into orthodontics for cosmetic corrections (although there is little scientific evidence that this will fix the mouth breathing).

Lastly, you may want to get in touch with a myofunctional therapist. These therapists can help you correct any bad habits with swallowing and other facial muscle patterns.

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