• Breathing through the nose is a common practice in yoga, thanks to its many benefits.
• Physicians also recommend breathing through the nose, as it provides a natural filter.
• Breathing through the mouth can lead to poor oral health and bad breath.
Dr. Manish Khanna of Capitol Breathe Free Sinus & Allergy Centers discussed how patients may not realize that their sinus problems are causing them to breathe orally in an interview with the Gateway Reporter.
"I think a lot of patients don't really realize that they breathe a certain way," Khanna said. "This is something that's almost ignored in a sense, but it may shorten their lifespan. It may affect their quality of life. How they breathe, sinus headaches, pressure, feeling down because they're fatigued, because they're not getting enough air. Let's say that these are people who exercise -- why can't I do that extra lap? Why can I lift that extra weight? Because I feel like I just don't get enough air in. We can help that; we can change the way your everyday life is."
According to Heather Yoga, yoga is an ancient practice whose adherents (yogis) have studied the role of breathing in human wellness for centuries. Many practitioners prefer to breathe through the nose, as opposed to the mouth.
According to KTM Yoga, while most people need to focus on breathing through their noses more frequently, approximately 60% of adults often breathe through their mouths instead. Hair and mucus within the nose serve as natural filters for bacteria and dust, and nasal breathing serves to both increase oxygen intake and boost brain activity. Nasal breathing also helps to slow the body's airflow, which widens blood vessels and slows the heart rate, increasing feelings of calmness.
McCarl Dental Group also reports that those who experience allergies or chronic sinus problems are more likely to breathe orally, although mouth breathing can lead to health issues.
Oral breathing dries saliva in the mouth, which provides an environment for bacteria and plaque to build up on the teeth, potentially leading to cavities, gum disease, and chronic bad breath. Regular, repeated oral breathing can also lead to strained jaw joints, snoring, sleep apnea, enlarged tonsils, and a higher risk for airway disorders, such as asthma.
If you're interested in learning more about the symptoms of allergies and sinus infections, take this Sinus Self-Assessment Quiz.