Nasal Breathing Re-education
THERE ARE MANY BENEFITS TO NOSE BREATHING
Mouth breathing is not healthy. We are meant to breathe through our noses; mouth breathing is the body’s failsafe mechanism to keep us alive when we can’t breathe through the nose.
Surprisingly, nasal breathing does not ensure correct breathing. Breathing should be slow, controlled, and diaphraghmatic. Breaths that are too shallow and rapid can create a state of chronic hyperventilation. Hyperventilation upsets the balance of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen, altering the body’s pH, and ultimately limiting tissue oxygenation. Buteyko and Pranayama are examples of breath retraining techniques commonly used in conjunction with orofacial myofunctional therapy, or as a standalone treatment.
There are many benefits to slow, controlled, diaphragmatic breathing through the nose, including:
Increases nitric oxide production
Filters allergens, pathogens (e.g., bacteria and viruses), and foreign bodies
Activates of parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) to calm the body and mind
Reduces stress and anxiety
Improves quality of sleep
Oxygenates tissues throughout the body better
Improves athletic performance
- Promotes proper tongue rest posture
- Encourages proper growth and development
- Humidifies and optimizes the air temperature
Nasal breathing supports normal muscle functions necessary for ideal facial growth, as long as lip closure and palatal tongue rest posture have also consistently achieved. In the growing child, a tongue that rests on the palate (roof of mouth) serves as the scaffold supporting the development of a nice, broad U-shaped maxillary (upper) dental arch, and a larger intra-arch width corresponds with a larger airway capacity. Most of the growth of the sinuses occurs in early childhood, and nasal breathing also activates growth of the occipital and nasal joints as well as the sutures of the facial bones.
Mouth breathing can contribute to a cascade of undesirable events, including poor facial growth patterns as well as a predisposition for TMJD, sleep-related breathing disorders, ADHD/ADD, and dental diseases (e.g., periodontal disease and tooth decay). That is why is important to identify red flags and address issues with nasal breathing as early as possible.
OROFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPY CAN HELP MOUTH BREATHERS LEARN TO BECOME NASAL BREATHERS
Orofacial myologists promote and emphasize the importance of healthy nasal breathing with each patient. With the help of orofacial myofunctional therapy exercises and nasal breath retraining activities, one can become more healthier and more effective in natural breathing.
Nasal breath retraining requires a patent airway, so each myofunctional therapy patient is screened for possible airway interferences prior to the start of treatment, and referrals to other qualified medical providers, as needed. Nasal airway patency is the crux of myofunctional therapy treatment. We cannot teach proper chewing, swallowing, and/or oral rest posture to a patient without it.
BREATH RETRAINING IS IMPORTANT FOR THOSE UNDERGOING SURGERY
Breath retraining can be especially important for anyone undergoing a surgical procedure to improve airway function, including septoplasty, tonsillectomy/adenectomy, or orthognathc surgery.
Healthier breathing means a healthier life because breathing is life.