Mouth Breathing vs. Nose Breathing (for all Mouth Breathers)
Through this page, we plan on answering the question: What is it that makes mouth breathing contribute to deaths? How does it undermine the health of mouth breathers? What are the biochemical effects of mouth breathing over the health of a regular mouth breather?
Nobody welcomed mouth breathers in the past (during sleep or running as well)
When you see modern people on Western streets and public places, the one thing that is most obvious is that nearly 30-40% of them are mouth breathers. They tend to breathe through the mouth when walking or even while sitting or standing. It is safe to say that a majority of people these days are mouth breathers. This very same thing can easily be observed during night sleep. A few decades ago, mouth breathing was disliked, and was socially unacceptable and abnormal. For instance, there is a dictionary that suggested that a ‘mouth breather = n.a stupid person; a moron, dolt, imbecile’. Now, let’s move on to the confirmed effects of mouth-breathing.
CO2-related biochemical effects of mouth breathing
People believe that CO2 is a toxic waste gas, but it isn’t! A number of research articles over respiration often mention a term known as ‘dead space’. It is basically a physiological parameter that is nearly 150-200 ml in an average adult individual. Dead space is present within the nose, bronchi and throat. This is the space that is responsible for helping us in the perseverance of additional CO2 that can be used by the human body elsewhere. All through our inhalations, we take CO2 enriched air from our dead space back into the alveoli of the lungs. When we use the mouth for respiration, the volume of dead space decreases for the simple reasons that the nasal passages are no longer a part of the breathing route. As a consequence, air exchange for mouth breathing is stronger considering that the air goes straight from the outside air to the alveoli. This cuts down on alveolar CO2 and arterial blood CO2 concentrations. This effect, on the other hand, does not take place with nose breathing.
Moreover, the nasal breathing route offers a substantial amount of resistance for respiratory muscles as compared to oral breathing. Why is that so? Well, for the simple reason that the route for mouth breathing is fairly short, and has a greater cross sectional area.
A study was published by Japanese researchers by the name of ‘An assessment of nasal functions in control of breathing’ in which they claimed that end-tidal-CO2 concentrations tend to be higher during nose breathing as compared to during oral breathing. This research study revealed that a group of healthy volunteers had an average CO2 of nearly 43.7 mm Hg for nose breathing, and just about 40.6 mm Hg for oral breathing. When it comes to body oxygenation or the CP in practice, this corresponds to about 45 s and 37 s at sea level. For this reason, mouth breathing has the potential to reduce oxygenation of the entire body.
It is necessary for every mouth breather to know this short summary of the immediate negative biochemical effects of mouth breathing in association with CO2:
1. Lesser amounts of CO2 content in alveoli of the lungs (hypocapnia) 2. Hypocapnia vasoconstriction (constriction of blood vessels because of CO2 deficiency) 3. Suppressed Bohr effect 4. Reduced oxygenation of cells and tissues of all vital organs of the human body 5. Stress, anxiety, addictions, sleep related issues at night and negative emotions 6. Muscular tension and slouching (even when running) 7. Biochemical stress because of cold, dry air that enters the lungs 8. Biochemical stress that is caused by dirty air, viruses, toxic and harmful chemicals that enter the lungs 9. Possible infections triggered by the absence of the self-immunization effect 10. Pathological effects caused by suppressed nitric oxide utilization. This includes vasoconstriction, reduced destruction of parasitic organisms, malignant cells (by putting an end to their respiratory chain enzymes) in the alveoli of the lungs, viruses, inflammation in blood vessels, hormonal effects, disruption of normal neurotransmission etc.
Nose breathing delivers nitric oxide to lungs, blood and cells
Our sinuses generate nitric oxide and normal nose breathing has the potential to help us use it up. The major role played by NO and its effects have been discovered rather recently (in the past 20 years). Three scientists are also known to have received a Nobel prize for their discovery pertaining to the fact that a common drug Nitroglycerin (used rather commonly by heart patients) is transformed into nitric oxide. NO, you should know, has the potential to dilate blood vessels of heart patients, thereby reducing their blood pressure and heart rate. For this reason, they can easily survive a heart attack.
This gas or substance is produced in different body tissues. This is typically inclusive of nasal passages. In the form of a gas, it is routinely measured in exhaled air that comes out of the nasal passages. For this reason, we can not make use of our own nitric oxide if we start mouth breathing.
A few confirmed functions of nitric oxide are:
1. Destruction of viruses, parasitic organisms, and malignant cells in the airways and lungsby inactivating their respiratory chain enzymes.
2. Regulation of binding – release of O2 to hemoglobin. This effect tends to be quite like the CO2 function or the Bohr effect.
3. Vasodilation of arteries and arterioles or the regulation of blood flow or perfusion of tissues.
4. Inhibitory effects of inflammation in blood vessels.
5. Hormonal effects. NO influences secretion of hormones from several glands (adrenaline, pancreatic enzymes, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone)
6. Neurotransmission. Memory, sleeping, learning, feeling pain, and many other processes are possible only with NO present (for transmission of neuronal signals).
As obvious, it is just not possible for one to utilize his or her own nitric oxide during mouth breathing. The mouth, as per Doctor Buteyko, is meant for eating, speaking and drinking by Nature. At all other times, while running and during night sleep, you need to keep it closed.
Cleaning, humidification and warming of air flow due to nose breathing
Our nasal passages have been created to clean, humidify and warm the incoming flow of air because of the layers of protective mucus. This thin layer of mucus has the potential to trap nearly 98-99% of viruses, bacteria, dust particles and a number of other airborne objects.
Those who are asthmatics and endurance athletes must train mostly, or if possible only with nasal breathing. If you are participating in an extremely important competition, it is alright for you to use the mouth for breathing. However, this should only be done if you do not have any current problems with your asthma. Sport training is vital because of its aerobic training effect. This can only be achieved while breathing exclusively through the nose as has been confirmed by an Australian study.
Mouth breathing influences on the self-immunization effect
This is yet another benefit that nasal breathing has to offer over mouth breathing. The thin layer of mucus has the potential to move quite like a long carpet from sinuses, bronchi and other internal surfaces towards the stomach. This way, any object that is trapped by the mucus gets discharged into the stomach, wherein GI enzymes together with hydrochloric acid either make viruses, bacteria and fungi weak or dead. Moving along the digestive conveyor, a few of these pathogens, irrespective of whether they are weak or dead, can find their way into the blood through the small intestine because of the intestinal permeability effect. Considering that these pathogens are either weakened or dead, they do not cause much harm. For instance, they cannot cause any infections whatsoever. Additionally, they have the potential to provide a bit of a lesson for the immune system. This is just the way that natural immunization can work with success. What medical doctors and nurses do is that they inject vaccines containing weakened or dead bacteria or virus so that our immune response to these pathogens can get strengthened. For this reason, nasal breathing leads to the perfect conditions for natural self-immunization.
In a practical setting, when a member of your family falls sick with a flu or cold, the ones who are still healthy could continue breathing through their nose, thereby teaching their immune system as to how to deal with the pathogenic bacteria or viruses. On the other hand, breathing via their mouth or mouth breathing allows for these pathogens to access, settle and reproduce themselves in the different parts of the body, thereby triggering infections.
Medical therapy to get rid of mouth breathing
One of the most important goals of the Buteyko breathing method is to stop mouth breathing and ensure nose breathing at all times. This way, all mouth breathing effects can be prevented. Remember, this system has been used by more than 150 Soviet and Russian MDs.
For a majority of mouth breathers and sick individuals, quick health improvement, which is the very first stage of breathing normalization, can easily be accomplished by a single change only – learning how to breathe only through the nose 24/7. Just this step alone can make a big difference in the health of many people so that the main symptoms are reduced and less medication is required.
Permanent solution for mouth-breathing problems
It is necessary for you to put in all of your will power to stop mouth breathing. If a mouth breather suffers from a blocked or stuffy nose, or sinusitis, such thing can appear or exist just in conditions of abnormal breathing. For these problems to get triggered, it is necessary for one to breathe at least 2 times more air at rest as compared to the medical norm.
If you have problems with mouth breathing, you need to aim at slowing down your automatic or unconscious breathing pattern so as to achieve more than 25 seconds of body oxygen 24/7. For clarifications on the effects of mouth breathing, check out this YouTube video ‘Mouth Breathing‘: