You don’t eat through your nose, so why do you breathe through your mouth? It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Does it? We’ve had many patients ask us as their dentist in Longmont, “Why would it matter if you breathe through your nose or mouth – as long as the air is getting to my lungs?”
Nose breathing is well documented to provide many benefits. It filters, moistens, and cools the air you breathe, ensuring the air that reaches your lungs can be used to its best advantage. What’s more, in a time when your immune system is more important than ever, nasal breathing is our body’s natural defense mechanism. When you breathe through your nose, your body produces nitric oxide – a powerful antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial gas.
Mouth Breathing & A Constricted Airway
At Dental Horizons, we see signs of mouth breathing in our patients quite often. Dry mouth, increased tooth decay, and bad breath are just the start. Reactive mouth breathing – like what you might do if you have a stuffed nose or feel more comfortable while wearing a mask – can be corrected by just by being aware of it.
But for many people, a constricted airway is the cause of chronic mouth breathing. That is a more severe issue. Snoring, teeth grinding, fractured teeth, and tongue-tie are only some of the signs that tell us you may be suffering from a constricted airway. As a dentist in Longmont, we offer many services, including night guards, crowns & bridges, and dental bonding that can correct the damage to your oral health that mouth breathing can cause.
The other health consequences that are directly associated with a constricted airway go far beyond the mouth. A constricted airway leads to poor sleep. Poor sleep leads to a cascade of secondary effects like poor healing, low concentration, depression, ADHD, getting up at night to go to the bathroom (bed-wetting in children), asthma, poor circulation, and many more.
How Do You Know If You Have A Constricted Airway?
As your dentist in Longmont, we have the technology to do a 3D image scan of your head and neck and measure the volume of your airway. 3D imaging technology produces a highly detailed digital picture of your anatomy when a regular digital x-ray doesn’t entirely give us all the information we need. And because the imaging is done digitally, from outside your mouth, you won’t need to bite on x-ray plates that some people find uncomfortable.
How Do You Prepare For A 3D Scan?
There is no preparation for a cone beam scan, except we ask that you remove all things with metal that you wear above your shoulders, such as earrings and piercings, hair accessories, eyeglasses, necklaces, and hearing aids. For women, if there is a possibility that you are pregnant, you must let us know before your scan.
Lower Exposure To Radiation
All digital x-rays are just as accurate as film x-rays, plus they’re more comfortable for you! We can even look at them on a chairside monitor together when planning your treatment. They are a great tool that helps us explain what is happening in your mouth and why treatment is necessary. Plus, this digital technology also delivers less radiation to you and your loved ones, which is particularly important to people who have undergone cancer treatment or are concerned about radiation exposure for other reasons. All of this is extremely important to us at Dental Horizons; to always consider your overall health, and not just your oral health.
A Comprehensive Approach
This powerful tool, combined with a more comprehensive approach to dental health that reaches beyond the teeth, is the direction we have rebounded to post COVID. Although having the teeth in their proper position does help with esthetics, the functional and health benefits of an uncrowded airway space far outweigh beauty benefits. We can now not only move the teeth but can stimulate the stems cells in the periodontal ligament to signal bone growth within the maxilla (top jaw) and grow your airway!
If you’re concerned about how your airway affects your health, we’d love to help you. Contact us to schedule a convenient appointment, or call (720) 526-3146to speak with our team right away. Mouth breathing doesn’t have to damage your smile or compromise your quality of life.
Yours in excellent dental health,
Dr. Andrew Kelson, your dentist in Longmont
P.S. At Dental Horizons, your optimal oral health is our priority and we know that without dental insurance many families find regular dental care to be a financial burden. But this preventive care can save you money (and time!) in the long run. That’s why we offer an in-house dental savings plan so you can get the care your family needs to stay healthy.