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Chronic Mouth Breathing and its Effect on Your Teeth and Gums

Weston Price, in Nutrition & Physical Degeneration published in 1939, first documented the relationship between chronic mouth-breathing and a range of dental disorders including: dental decay, periodontal disease, malocclusion – teeth not fitting together properly when the mouth is shut, anterior open bite (prominent top teeth), temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and reduced dental arch space (narrow roof of the mouth). Narrowing of the upper palate increases tooth crowding and the need for tooth extraction.

Mouth-breathers have more acidic saliva while that of nasal-breathers tends to be more alkaline. Alkaline saliva supports better oral hygiene with healthier teeth and gums. Even more importantly, the way you breathe influences the shape of your face and the quality of your smile. In regards to mouth-breathing and orthodontics, Dr Nic Anderson (BDS), a dentist at one of Auckland’s busiest dental practices, has this to say:

Periodontal Disease

Open-mouth breathing and incorrect tongue posture can result in crooked teeth, under-developed jaw and dry gums, contributing to tooth cavities, periodontal disease and bad breath.

“I strongly believe that improper breathing is a major contributory factor for the orthodontic problems I see.  If this cause is not addressed the success of the orthodontic treatment will be limited and the chance of relapse (treatment failure) is very high.  Unfortunately, the traditional approach of waiting for all adult teeth to be present before placing braces, and ignoring the underlying cause, means that the treatment required is normally far more invasive.  If I had my way I would have corrective breathing therapy compulsory for all school-age children.”

The Buteyko Breathing Clinic work closely with Auckland dentists, including Nic and the staff at Alpers Dental practice, to ensure the best outcomes for their clients. Orthodontists and dentists going back to Westin Price in the 1930s have long recognised the role of breathing in dental and facial development.  By learning to correct breathing patterns, an individual can prevent dental problems occurring and in many cases they can begin to be reversed.

"When I see a child for the first time seeking orthodontic treatment the first thing I assess is the breathing pattern. All children who are chronic mouth-breathers will develop a malocclusion" - Dr John Flutter BDS

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price
Project Gutenberg of Australia Free eBook

Why you shouldn't sleep with your mouth open »


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