2

votes

Are you a nose breather or a mouth breather?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 02, 2012 at 12:16 AM

First I'll tell you why this question is paleo. Fossil records tend to show that our paleolithic ancestors had a larger bone structure than us, a wider dental arch, and prominent noses (1). With agriculture came more skeletal remains that include osteoperosis, poorer bone structure and what some people call pinched faces.

With pinched faces come smaller noses. With smaller noses comes more difficulty breathing through your nose and a tendancy to be a "mouth breather".

So, I just realized that I sleep with my mouth open, eat with my mouth open, and when walking also breath through my mouth, which according to a news thingy I watched on this, accounts for roughly 5-30% of the population.

However there are also strong correlations between mouth breathing and decreased blood serum co2 and Nitric Oxide, and this is apparently significantly bad. Anyways, last night I hugged my pillow up against my chest under my jaw with the intention of it holding my mouth shut and I got the best sleep I've had in a few weeks, coincidince? Probably, but I intend to test it several more times because of the strong correlation between mouth breathing and sleep apnea.

So, our paleolithic ancestors were probably not mouth breathers, just like most people today aren't, but are you? Were you aware that there are health risks associated with being a mouth breather? And did you know that just as little as a century ago a mouth breather was defined as an insult to call somebody sysnonymous with dull, and dim-witted. Are you a mouth-breather?

383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on February 13, 2013
at 03:44 PM

that's not how it works. your saliva protects against harmful bacteria and helps prevent plaque buildup

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on February 13, 2013
at 02:47 PM

Mouth Breathers usually breathe through their mouth because they have inadequate nasal passages, ie poor bone structure, and poor bone structured individuals are going to be at higher risk for cavities. Just clarifying.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 02, 2012
at 12:47 PM

That's very interesting, ty for sharing your story and the link.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 02, 2012
at 02:31 AM

Lol, I think I mustv'e read your post without remembering your post and tried sleeping with my mouth shut because of it, haha. That's funny. And yea, the chin strap might be a good idea, but the pillow seemed to work well for me, I sleep on the ground, oddly enough, and so I usually have a pillow on my side already, even when I roll over.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 02, 2012
at 01:05 AM

With the pillow gently up against the bottom of my chin while I sleep on my side I know I won't have my mouth open on its' own while I sleep.

  • Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

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11 Answers

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1
4739dfc454ee7d5b4a6c232984fb9fb9

(70)

on December 02, 2012
at 12:47 AM

Stephen,

Wow, this was very interesting. Come to think of it, I'm more of a mouth breather as well but never stopped to think twice about it. What you cited about early humans being more nose-breathers is something I haven't heard of before, so thanks for the quick education on that.

I'm gonna have to try that pillow sleeping trick as well. What purpose does hugging the pillow have; tightening your chest to make it harder to breathe through your mouth or something?

Anyways, very insightful. Thanks

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 02, 2012
at 01:05 AM

With the pillow gently up against the bottom of my chin while I sleep on my side I know I won't have my mouth open on its' own while I sleep.

2
383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on February 13, 2013
at 02:04 PM

mouth breathers typically have drier mouths which promote cavities

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on February 13, 2013
at 02:47 PM

Mouth Breathers usually breathe through their mouth because they have inadequate nasal passages, ie poor bone structure, and poor bone structured individuals are going to be at higher risk for cavities. Just clarifying.

383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on February 13, 2013
at 03:44 PM

that's not how it works. your saliva protects against harmful bacteria and helps prevent plaque buildup

2
De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on December 02, 2012
at 02:01 AM

I asked a similar question a few days ago actually. If it helps, my serum CO2 is always high normal or slightly high abnormal so I don't follow. I doubt that stuffing a pillow under your chin will do much as we all move in our sleep. If you really want to force yourself to nose breath, then I'd suggest checking out cpap.com and ordering a chinstrap. They're only about $10 - $20 and it'll keep your mouth closed for sure.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 02, 2012
at 02:31 AM

Lol, I think I mustv'e read your post without remembering your post and tried sleeping with my mouth shut because of it, haha. That's funny. And yea, the chin strap might be a good idea, but the pillow seemed to work well for me, I sleep on the ground, oddly enough, and so I usually have a pillow on my side already, even when I roll over.

1
2564c814ad9931c834ae092e1ef069fb

on February 13, 2013
at 01:42 PM

As a kid I remember I absolutely hated catching colds or being sick because I'd have to breathe through my mouth due to the nasal congestion. I've always been a nose-breather and hate breathing through my mouth.

1
B45a92a33be46b38dae42b311c63c906

on February 13, 2013
at 11:35 AM

It's strange. When I became pregnant with my first two years ago, I turned from a nose breather to a mouth breather (since It was difficult for me to breathe with a big belly, especially at night). I haven't exercised much the last couple of years, and I've been eating more junk and processed food (healthy food too, just more store-bought sandwiches and pizza with gluten and all thanks to my bf's eating habits). I am now still mostly a mouth breather. I just (against my better judgement since I am lactose intollerant) bought a can of crappy whipped cream, which has nitric oxide in it. I ate fruit only all day, then caved and ate a starbucks sandwhich and some whipped cream. I had trouble breathing through my nose very soon after the whipped cream. I think it's the dairy.

1
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on December 02, 2012
at 04:12 AM

I was a mouth breather a few years ago.
Then i happened upon Buteyko breathing and successfully taught myself to nose breath (for both in and out breaths).

I actually taped my mouth while sleeping for three nights, I think it worked after two nights, but i did a third night to be certain. Sounds a bit extreme i know, see here for more details; Mouth Taping During Night Sleep (Buteyko Technique)

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 02, 2012
at 12:47 PM

That's very interesting, ty for sharing your story and the link.

1
Medium avatar

(10663)

on December 02, 2012
at 02:46 AM

When I do yoga I breathe in through my nose and breathe out through my mouth. But overall, I try to breathe in through my nose.

But I know when I sleep I breathe through my mouth. It's quite an ugly sight, really.

0
96d492bc621cf194ec53acd8084dadb0

on February 13, 2013
at 04:46 PM

That's a cool topic man. I know I'm trying to focus more on breathing through my nose, but breathing is something that's on autopilot for 99% of the time, so who knows what I'm doing when I'm not paying attention.

I think yoga has helped me quite a bit with this, because of all the focus on bringing consciousness to our breathing. Whenever I notice that I'm breathing through my mouth, I make sure to close it, and resume breathing through my nose.

0
5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

on February 13, 2013
at 12:54 PM

When you are surrounded by vegans or other legume fans, mouth breathing is an evolutionary advantage.

0
Medium avatar

(1240)

on December 02, 2012
at 05:03 AM

I'm a mouth breather, but I have chronic allergies and had a deviated septum corrected 16 years ago and I suspect it's back to its original state.

No, I wasn't aware of any downside short of less of a filtration system for my breathing.

Yes, I was aware that the term "mouth breather" is an insult and I've wondered where it comes from.

0
165202196ea111b32114ef2804a7dd94

on December 02, 2012
at 04:57 AM

Although I've had nasal polyps almost all my life, my nose is large enough to accomodate nose breathing! hehe But oh boy!when I'm sick, and can only breathe through my mouth for a good amount of time, I get really uncomfortable and can't fall asleep. :(

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