Sleeping with your mouth open is not the natural way to sleep.
Stress and anxiety can cause a person to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose.
Sleeping with your mouth open can cause a low concentration of oxygen in the bloodstream. This is associated with hypertension, sleep apnea and heart problems. (1)
Why you sleep with your mouth open? When your nose is blocked, the body will automatically resort to the only other source that can provide oxygen, which is your mouth.
Science reveals the most common side effects associated with sleeping with your mouth open.
1. Make your tooth decay, periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and tooth cavities
Breathing for the mouth is damaging to your oral health.
When you sleep with your mouth open, it tends to lead to waking up with a dry mouth, because less saliva is produced, which raises the risk of tooth decay.
Lack of saliva in the mouth during sleep means more plaque accumulates on teeth because saliva is not there to keep growth under control, creating a higher risk of dental caries.
It happens because the acidity in the mouth decreases from a neutral level to a slightly acidic level.
The acidic level in the mouth may erode the tooth enamel and may damage the teeth.
2. Can cause snoring
Research has shown that mouth breathing at night increased snoring.
One of the causes, why you snore, is that you sleep with your mouth open.
Your mouth may drop when you sleep in an uncomfortable position.
The muscles at your palate level will also relax in this situation, which will make your uvula and palace vibrate as you inhale. On this occasion, you will snore.
3. Trigger asthma
Air that you breathe through the nose is cleaned of toxic microbes and other impurities. But asthmatic symptoms may get worse when you sleep with your mouth open.
This is because the air you inhale through your mouth goes directly into the lungs without being filtered by the nasal passages.
This means you have more chances to inhale allergens such as pollen, dust, or pet hair and get an asthma attack.
4. Cause bad breath (Halitosis)
Usually known as ugly breathing, halitosis is the result of excessive bacterial growth in the mouth.
This happens because the mouth becomes dry as you breathe through your mouth, leaving less saliva in the mouth to help get rid of bacteria.
Inhalation of specific allergens and bacteria through the mouth can also aggravate halitosis.
5. Lead to severe sleep disorder (Sleep apnea)
When left untreated, snoring can eventually turn into a more severe condition, called sleep apnea, where you stop breathing for a long time during sleep. (2)
This is due to irritation of the respiratory system.
People with this condition often have to face disorientation during awake hours and extreme fatigue.
These people are also at a higher risk of having heart attacks.
Here are some few ways to help you deal with sleeping with your mouth open.
Knowing what causes the opening of your mouth during sleep will help you find the right treatment. Sometimes it’s the result of getting big tonsils, and you have to remove them to solve the problem.
You may need orthodontic treatment if your mouth opens during sleep due to a structural problem.
1. Lift your head while you sleep
Sleep on the back will not help you resolve to breathe, so you may want to avoid it.
At the same time, raising your head during sleep can help prevent nasal leakage.
This, in turn, keeps open nasal passages and prevents agglomeration.
Make sure you use pillows to lift your head but do not lift it too much, or you end up doing with a sore throat.
2. Learn breathing techniques
When you sleep with your mouth open for a long time will make your mouth muscles and dysfunctional face. Therefore, it is vital to re-qualify your breath pattern to help you breathe normally.
Make a conscious effort to breathe through your nose during the day to train your subconscious mind to do the same during your sleep.
Do not leave your mouth open during the day.
Always remember that you have to breathe through your nose all the time.
Specific breathing exercises can also help you. For example, you can close your mouth and inhale through the nose.
Then, exhale through your nose. Hold your breath using your fingers to close your nose. Leave your nose when you want to breathe again. Inspire to make it work.
3. Do regular exercises
You must live an active lifestyle and exercise regularly. Yoga is the best choice to stop breathing from the mouth because it teaches how to breathe through the nose.
Similarly, aerobic exercises can also help by training the heart and lungs.
Exercise also helps you in your effort to make the sympathetic nervous system work longer and prevent nasal congestion at night.
4. Remove the allergens
Exposure to allergens will lead to nasal congestion, which causes breathing of the mouth during sleep.
Keep your house clean, try to reduce and eliminate pollen and dust, use vacuum cleaners to clean everything in your home.
Moreover, it would be better to remove any dusty items from the bedroom.