Did you know chronic mouth breathing can cause gum disease and worsen symptoms of preexisting illnesses? You may breathe through your mouth without thinking twice about it, but this habit comes with its own complications. Here’s how to stop mouth breathing at night. 

Causes and Symptoms of Mouth Breathing

There are many health conditions that may put you at risk for mouth breathing, especially at night. Some causes may be temporary, like allergies or the common cold. Other factors may be more permanent, like asthma, a deviated nasal septum, sinus polyps, enlarged tonsils, the shape and size of your nose/jaw, or birth abnormalities. 

If you breathe through your mouth at night, you may wake up with dry mouth, a hoarse throat, and bad breath (worse than your normal morning breath). Usually, people who breathe through their mouths snore throughout the night, even though they may not know it. Breathing through your mouth can disrupt your quality of sleep, so you may wake up feeling more fatigued, irritable, and tired than usual. 

Mouth breathing at night may also cause crooked teeth and facial deformities in children. For those who already suffer from conditions like TMJ, mouth breathing can make your jaw pain and  TMJ symptoms even worse. 

Breathing Through Your Nose

For most, breathing through your nose is the preferred method of breathing. When you breathe through your nose, you get to bypass all of the uncomfortable symptoms of mouth breathing, like dry mouth and halitosis.

However, breathing through your nose has added health benefits, too. Picture your nose as a water filter. When you breathe through your nose, excess particles in the air, like pollen, are trapped and retained in your nose/nose hairs. 

Breathing through your nose also adds warmth and moisture to the air which prevents dry and hoarse airways. When you breathe through your mouth, you can dry out your airways which can increase your risk of/worsen asthma. 

How to Stop Mouth Breathing at Night

The first step in learning how to stop mouth breathing at night is to identify the problem. If the problem is ongoing, consider seeing a medical professional. 

Some of the more common treatment options for mouth breathing include: 

  • CPAP machine to help you breathe while sleeping (typically for those with sleep apnea)
  • Deviated septum (septoplasty) surgery
  • Dental procedure/surgery to correct jaw or bite misalignment and teeth grinding
  • Medications for allergies or nasal sprays to clear congestion
  • Widening of sinus passage for more open airways