Have you woken up at night often feeling your mouth is dry as a desert? This could be because you are breathing through your mouth while sleeping with your mouth open. Nasal congestion is one of the primary reasons for breathing through your mouth and the other reasons could be a deviated septum, nasal polyps, sleep apnea, enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
Normal nasal breathing moistens the air and traps the foreign particles, allowing humidified air to enter the lungs. But, in the case of mouth breathing, dry air enters your lungs giving rise to various issues. Mentioned below are the side effects of sleeping with your mouth open.
Side Effects Of Sleeping With Mouth Open
Commonly known as bad breath, halitosis is an unpleasant condition for both you and the people around you. Breathing through the mouth causes dryness, reducing the level of saliva secretion. Saliva contains enzymes that kill the bacteria and keep your mouth wet, avoiding bad breath. Lack of the same doesn’t just let the bacteria enter your system but hampers your oral health.
2. Tooth Decay And Gingivitis
Saliva, apart from keeping the bacteria at bay, also protects the enamel of the teeth. And, as mentioned previously, breathing through the mouth reduces saliva secretion. Decreased concentration of salivary enzymes causes erosion of the enamel, resulting in cavity and decay.
The bacteria also attack the gums, leading to an infection called gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis could cause the separation of the gums from the teeth.
If you already have asthma, sleeping with mouth open aggravates your symptoms. This is because the air is not filtered like in the nasal cavity and the probability of inhaling potent allergens like pollen or dust is increased. The already hampered airways swell and in severe cases lead to an asthma attack.
4. Abnormal Swallowing
You are more likely to make an extra effort by thrusting your tongue forward to swallow rather than closing your mouth when the mouth is dry. This extra effort doesn’t just cause fatigue but also makes you swallow more air. This leads to further issues like gastritis and acid reflux.
Sleeping with mouth open causes your soft palate (the back of the roof of the mouth) and uvula (the fleshy extension projecting downward the palate) to vibrate. This results in snoring. Snoring further leads to other complications like obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious health condition.
6. Throat Infection
Breathing through the mouth not only dries up your mouth but also dries up your throat. Getting up with a sore throat often might be an indication that you are sleeping with your mouth open. The unfiltered air is again to blame for, as it causes severe throat infections due to allergens or bacteria.
It is good to not prolong consulting with your doctor if you observe yourself or your loved ones sleeping with the mouth open. Children, especially, face severe abnormalities like facial deformities and poor growth if they continue to mouth breathe. Thus, adequate medical help is mandatory.