Most of us spend an enormous amount of money on the quest to improve our health, fitness, weight, looks, sleep, and energy. But what most people don’t know is that we already have the key to all of this, and more. And what’s even better is that it doesn’t cost you a dime. Improved health, reduced stress, better looks, more energy and even weight loss can all be unlocked with something that’s such a fundamental, natural part of our lives that we barely even give it much thought: our breathing.
Impaired breathing habits can produce many negative consequences for your health and wellbeing; you may even be suffering due to it right now, but have never made the connection.
Why Breathing Properly is So Important
Life begins and ends with a breath. We can go without food for weeks and without water for days, but without air, we couldn’t last for more than a few minutes. Humans take up to one thousand breaths every hour – that’s 25,000 breaths every day, and 10-20kg of air passing in and out of our lungs daily, which is ten times more than the amount of food an average person eats. It’s easy to see that breathing is the most important part of life.
So, how do poor breathing habits affect your wellbeing?
Breathing through your mouth rather than your nose can lead to health problems, particularly if you are a mouth breather when you are sleeping. In children, mouth breathing can lead to issues like crooked teeth, poor growth, facial deformities. In adults, it can lead to gum disease and bad breath, along with worsening the symptoms of any other illnesses and even increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and more.
What Are the Risks Factors of Mouth Breathing?
Anybody can develop a habit of breathing through their mouth rather than their nose, and many people do not even realize that they are doing it, especially if it happens when they are asleep. You may be more susceptible to developing a mouth breathing habit if you suffer from certain health conditions, including chronic allergies, asthma, hay fever, sinus infections or anxiety.
What are the Health Risks of Mouth Breathing?
Mouth breathing can be very drying for your mouth, and when your mouth is dry, your saliva is unable to wash bacteria from it. This can lead to conditions such as halitosis (bad breath), periodontal (gum) disease, or even ear and throat infections.
And, mouth breathing can also lead to a reduced concentration of oxygen in the blood. This is a risk factor for conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and even heart failure. Studies have shown that mouth breathing can also negatively impact lung function, and worsen asthma symptoms.
How Can I Treat Mouth Breathing?
The good news is that if you’re a mouth breather, you can do something about it. If you tend to breathe through your mouth when you are asleep, you can get strips designed to stop snoring that have benefits for snorers and non-snorers alike; they will help to keep your mouth closed and encourage you to breathe through your nose when you sleep.
You can also try antihistamines, nasal decongestants, or over-the-counter and prescription steroid nasal sprays to help make it easier to breathe through your nose. Mouth breathing can be the result of sleep apnea; if this is the case, you should visit your doctor who will provide you with a facial mask to wear at night to deliver air to your nose with pressure to stop your airways from collapsing.
Whether you breathe through your mouth when you’re awake or asleep, getting into the habit of it can have more detrimental effects on your health than you may have realized.
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