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How Open-Mouth Breathing Can Lead to Increased Cavities

Posted on 7/7/2020 by OM
How Open-Mouth Breathing Can Lead to Increased Cavities
Most of the time, people use their mouths and noses interchangeably to breathe. What we didn't know is that consistent open mouth breathing can cause a lot of damage to our oral health. During the night, breathing through the mouth causes snoring, dry mouth, bad breath, and irritated gums. Additionally, doing this usually leads to cavities.

How Does It Contribute To Cavities?

The tooth decays because the acid in the mouth eats away at the enamel until it gets through. Much like acid rain and stone. This acid is naturally produced by the host of bacteria in most mouths when it breaks down sugar and food particles. The body, however, has a natural defense mechanism against this, which is saliva.

Saliva essentially neutralizes this acidity and washes away food debris and plaque, which goes a long way in preventing plaque. Unfortunately, when we breathe open-mouthed, the salivary glands cannot keep up the production. This inevitably means the mouth gets very dry, and this protection is lost. Medical researchers have found that the acidity level in people who breathe through their mouths is a lot higher than that of those who don't. In such a case, the acid can burn through the enamel faster, causing more cavities on your teeth!

How to Minimize the Risk of Decay

Most people find that they are breathing through the mouth a lot when they are asleep since they will often wake up to a very dry mouth. To solve this, you need to address the root of the problem. You can talk to us or your physician to find out if it's a medical issue and find the appropriate ways to address them. It could be due to conditions such as enlarged tonsils, sleep apnea, or nasal congestion. Additionally, you need to maintain high levels of oral hygiene. These bacteria thrive in an environment filled with food debris and sugars. Ensuring that you brush and floss your teeth can eliminate plaque and keep the mouth's acidity low, which should help out a lot in keeping the decay to a minimum.
Bryan Hill, DDS
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Dentist Spokane, WA • Dental Blog • Bryan Hill, DDS
At Bryan Hill, DDS we maintain a dental blog to help educate and inform our patients about topics that affect their oral health. Why not call us at: (509) 505-6303.
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