Breathing through your mouth when you sleep is bad for many reasons. It can cause bad breath and can also be a sign of something worse. If you are sleeping with your mouth open, it could be making you miserable; here’s how.

Health Problems Associated with Mouth Breathing

As breathing through your mouth the whole time you’re asleep will inevitably dry your mouth out, this can lead to many mouth problems. When your mouth is dry, the saliva cannot remove bacteria from the mouth, leading it to build up. This can cause halitosis (bad breath), ear and throat infections, and periodontal diseases. Mouth breathing during sleep could also be a sign of something worse, such as sleep apnea.

Benefits of Nose Breathing

Breathing through your nose rather than the mouth actually has many benefits and is what we are supposed to do during sleep. Your nose acts as a natural filter, reducing the risk of any allergens or small particles from entering the lungs. The nose is also a moist area, meaning there will be no dryness in the airways and lungs. Your nose also warms up the air before it passes through to your lungs and increases air resistance. Without this, your lungs may decrease in elasticity over time.

How to Tell If You’re Breathing Through Your Mouth

If you sleep with someone, they will probably let you know that you’re sleeping with your mouth open. If you live alone, it can be a little harder to determine if this is the case but there are many symptoms associated with sleeping with your mouth open. Those who sleep with their mouth open usually snore, which can lead to poor sleep for themselves as well as anyone else in the house. You may wake up feeling fatigued, with bad breath and a dry mouth. If you are constantly feeling tired after sleeping and have dark circles no matter how long you have been in bed, it may well be that you are mouth breathing whilst you sleep.

Causes of Mouth Breathing

There are many reasons that you mouth breath during sleep. Some of the causes of mouth breathing can be easily rectified, whilst others could prove fatal if not treated, such as sleep apnea. You may naturally sleep with your mouth open due to the fact that your tonsils or adenoids are too large. If this is the case, you can have them removed. It may be caused by allergies or an infection. It is very rare, but you could be sleeping with your mouth open due to a tumor, so determining the cause is important to ensure that it isn’t anything more serious.  

Risk Factors

Some people are more likely to breathe with their mouth than others, so understanding the risk factors could help you to determine the cause. Those with chronic allergies such as hay fever may breathe through their mouth if they are not adequately managing their symptoms. If you have an allergy and are mouth breathing, it may be best to speak to your doctor to get stronger antihistamines prescribed. Stress and anxiety can also lead to mouth breathing.

Treatments

The treatment depends on the problem at hand. For some, at home treatment is enough to prevent mouth breathing. If you are mouth breathing, you can actually tape your mouth while sleeping with mouth slips. Whilst this may seem scary, these strips are completely safe and could be the answer to all of your problems. If this doesn’t work, speak to your doctor about what to do next.

Sleeping with your mouth open can cause many other complications and reduce the amount of good quality sleep you have, which could make you miserable.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "How Sleeping with an Open Mouth is Making You Miserable," in Medicalopedia, May 8, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7474/how-sleeping-with-an-open-mouth-is-making-you-miserable/].