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Nose breathing versus mouth breathing

"Nasal breathing  (as opposed to mouth breathing)  increases circulation, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, slows the breathing rate and improves overall lung volumes " Swift, Campbell, McKown  1988 Oronasal obstruction, lung volumes, and arterial oxygenation. Lancet 1, 73-75

"The internal nose not only provides around 90% of he respiratory system air-conditioning requirement but also recovers around 33% of exhaled heat and moisture. Elad, Wolf, Keck 2008 Air-conditioning in the human nasal cavity. Respiratory Physioolgy and Neurobiology 163. 121-127

"The nasal cycle, which is part of an overall body cycle, is controlled by the hypothalamus. Sympathetic dominance on one side causes nasal vasoconstriction of the ipsilateral turbinate, while parasympathetic dominance on the other causes nasal vasoconstriction of the contralateral turbinate. Increased airflow through the right nostrii is correlated to increased left brain activity and enhanced verbal performance, where as increased airflow through the left nostril is associated with increased right brain activity and enhanced spatial performance."
Shannahoff-Kalsa, 1993 The ultradian rhythm of alternating cerebral hemispheric activity. International journal of Neuroscience  70, 285-298

"During exercise, nasal breathing causes a reduction in FEO2, indicating that on expiration the percentage of oxygen extracted from the air by the lungs is increased and an increase in FECO2, indicating an increase in the percentage of expired air that is carbon dioxide". Morton, King, Papalia 1995 Comparison of maximal oxygen consumption with oral and nasal breathing. Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 27, 51-55

Breathing through the nose has many benefits. Breathing through the mouth, many negatives. There are some researchers who believe that mouth breathing and associated hyperventilation causes or exacerbates asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other medical problems. It makes some folks look dull witted or slightly unconscious. Chronic mouth breathing may cause the muscles that open the sidewalls of the nose to weaken.

  • Close to 80 percent of the Western population breathes incorrectly with habits such as breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, using the upper chest, and having noticeable breathing during rest
  • Your nose is the only organ able to properly prepare the air you breathe; mouth breathing leads to overbreathing, chronic hyperventilation, depleted carbon dioxide levels, reduced blood circulation and narrowing of the airways
  • Mouth breathing and resultant overbreathing elevates your blood pressure and heart rate and worsens asthma , allergies, rhinitis, sleep apnea, and deprives your heart, brain and other organs of optimal oxygenation
  • Overbreathing and hyperventilation during exercise can lead to reduced performance, and can also cause vasoconstriction, which increases your risk for arrhythmias and heart problems, even if you have none of the usual cardiac risk factors
Always better whenever possible; deviated septum and small nostrils may make it impractical but still nose breathing 24 hours a day is extremely important for those who desire the longest and most healthy life. 
 
1. The lungs are a primary source of our energy level. They extract oxygen from the air we breathe primarily on the exhale. Because the nostrils are smaller then the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates back pressure when one exhales. It slows the air escape so the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from them. When there is proper oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange, the blood will maintain a balanced pH. If carbon dioxide is lost too quickly, as in mouth breathing, oxygen absorption is decreased.
 
2. Afferent stimuli from the nerves that regulate breathing are in the nasal passages. The inhaled air passing through the nasal mucosa carries the stimuli to the reflex nerves that control breathing.  Mouth breathing bypasses the nasal mucosa and makes regular breathing difficult.  During sleep, it predisposes one to loud snoring and irregular breathing and can lead to a serious condition called Sleep Apnea and heart conditions.
 
3. Also, when mouth breathing, the brain thinks carbon dioxide is being lost too quickly and sensing this, will stimulate the goblet cells to produce mucous, slow the breathing and cause constriction of blood vessels. Breathing through the nose also limits air intake and forces one to SLOW down. Proper nose breathing reduces hypertension and stress for most people. Kind of like a speed control (governor) on a car engine.
 
4. The nostrils and sinuses filter and warm the air going into the lungs. The mouth breather bypasses this. The sinuses produce nitric oxide (NO) which  is a pollutant but harmful to bacteria in small doses. Nitric (not nitric) oxide is one of the very important chemical parts of sexual arousal. It vaso-dilates (engorgement) and plays a part in maintaining erection.
 
5. Each nostril is innervated by five cranial nerves from a different side of the brain. Each nostril functions independently and synergistically in filtering, warming, moisturizing, dehumidifying, and smelling the air.
 
6. Maintaining a keen sense of smell is very important for enjoying life and for safety and social acceptance.  Think of all the beautiful smells we enjoy with our nose. Smell influences our behavior, our memories, and many autonomic nervous system functions which are below the level of conscious awareness. This is because the receptors in the nose, known as olfactory bulbs, are direct extensions of a part of the brain known as  the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus, also known as the Brain's brain, is responsible for many functions in our bodies, particularly those that we consider automatic: heartbeat, blood pressure, thirst, appetite, and of course, the cycles of sleeping a waking. The hypothalamus is also responsible for generating chemicals that influence memory and emotion.   
 
7. Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, the new medical description for what most of us call snoring, is a problem for about 90 million Americans everyday. Socially unacceptable snoring occurs when other people complain about the noise. They are irritated by the snoring noise because they were unable to sleep well in the same room and in some cases the same building.  Snoring is a major social problem. It can also lead to major medical problems if snoring and mouth breathing combine to cause irregular breathing during sleep.
 
8. What you do during waking hours carries over into sleep. Any opportunity for mouth breathing inhaling  or exhaling will increase the chances of mouth breathing during sleep. Hospital studies have  established that nocturnal mouth breathing is a primary cause of loud snoring. Snoring is a precursor to sleep apnea and apnea a precursor to heart attacks and dying in one's sleep. 

9. Nose breathing imposes approximately 50 percent more resistance to the air stream in normal  individuals than does mouth breathing, resulting in 10-20 percent more O2 uptake. (Cottle, 1972:Rohrer, 1915)  There must be adequate nasal resistance to maintain adequate elasticity of the lungs. (Cottle 1980)  

10. Breathing through the mouth with the nose obstructed usually imposes too little resistance and can lead to micro-areas of poor ventilation in the lungs (atelactasis).  Many years of breathing against excessive resistance as with nasal obstruction, may cause micro areas of poor ventilation (emphysema).  Barelli (Behavioral and Pshchological Approaches to Breathing Disorders.p.50 ) 
Mouth breathing can produce an anterior open bite, a longer face, and some suggest that because of poor sleep quality produces a baggy appearance under the eyes. Mouth breathing also accelerates water loss increasing possible dehydration.

 
11. Body temperature may be influenced by the temperature of expired air (Scott, 1954; Weiner, 1954)

12. Work of lung movement doubled when nose breathing, creating mild resistance training.

13. Chin-Up Strips are safe, inexpensive and easy to use.  In fact, if you mouth breathe during waking hours you will want to: USE THEM during the exercises in the Optimal Breathing Improvement Program AS WELL AS DURING SLEEPING. They may also assist reducing the number of colds for reasons not yet certain. 

They are by now in many drug stores in the US. Ask your druggist for them.  We include a sample in our Sleep program.

"I am convinced improved breathing through the nasal mucosa 24/7 is a key to a long and healthy life. A life filled with energy and a great disposition which will help maintain and strengthen the relationships one needs for emotional and physical wellness."
Dale D. Miller, JD & CEO
www.chinupstrip.com      

14. Training yourself to nose breathe while waking can help the way you breathe while sleeping.

15. COLDS
Lessening of the common cold is another good reason for nose breathing. The mucous (white blood cells that kill germs) membrane lining the nose extends all the way from the inner linings of the nostrils down the trachea to the bronchi the directly enters the lungs. Germs get caught and die in the mucous.

16. SINUS blockage and difficulty nose breathing.  What would make spinal fluid leak out of your nose? Dr. Hanson: In patients who’ve had a head injury, their dura, which is the leathery material that surrounds the brain and encloses it, can tear and they can have cerebral spinal fluid leaking through the dura into the nose. They can also have the same problem after sinus surgery. In both cases, there’s a potential for bacteria to get into the lining of the brain, which is obviously a bad thing.

17. Open your nostrils with Nasivent.

18. Conditions worsened by mouth breathing

COLDS AND THE FLU

SINUS CONGESTION:

POST NASAL DRIP:

ALLERGIES:

SINUS HEADACHES:

BAD BREATH:

EYE AND EAR PROBLEMS:

DEVIATED SEPTUM

"People with chronic sinus conditions should use a sinus rinse daily as it promotes drainage of the sinuses and speeds healing of inflamed tissues... "Self-Healing"  Dr. Andrew Weil M.D.

18. SLEEPING ON YOUR BACK
 

19. SEX. You can't kiss someone and breathe through your mouth.

You may have less opportunit8es for sex if you mouth breath because mouth breathing makes you look dense, dull or stupid.

20. Deviated Septums.

1. Breathe Right. A special band aid purchased at your drugstore.
2. Rolfing. Painful but has worked when repeated over time. 
3. Surgery.

Nose Surgery. Nasal blockages caused by a deviated septum can be treated with a new laser procedure, says new research. Laser-generated heat softens cartilage abnormalities in the nose, letting doctors flatten or shape those abnormalities to clear the nasal passages. The outpatient procedure takes six to eight minutes, and requires only a local anesthetic. The report on the procedure appears in the July-September issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

The traditional approach is to use a scalpel to cut cartilage inside the nose and reshape it manually. The surgical wounds have to be closed with stitches. This method is costly, and the patient may need to take time off work during their recovery and it the septum often reverts back to where it was.
In this study, researchers at Moscow State University used the laser procedure on 110 people between the ages of 11 and 66, and followed their results for an average of 18 months.
The study found that 84 (76 percent) of the people treated with the laser had a reduction of symptoms associated with nasal blockages. In 27 (24 percent) of the people, the nasal abnormalities returned to their original shape.

4. Dietary or bad air to eliminate any swelling from food or environment.

5.
Optimal Breathing development to reduce any anxiety, adrenaline, histamine reactions that swell up the membranes.

Related Articles
Oral breathing increases pH and vocal effort by superficial drying of vocal fold mucosa.

Sivasankar M, Fisher KV.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA. kim-fisher@northwestern.edu

Oral breathing superficially dehydrates the airway lumen by decreasing the depth of the sol layer in humans and animals. Conversely, nasal breathing can increase the humidity of inspired air. We compared the effects of short-term oral and nasal breathing on Pth and perceived vocal effort in 20 female subjects randomly assigned to two groups: oral breathing (N = 10, age 21-32 years); nasal breathing (N = 10, age 20-36 years). We hypothesized that short-term oral breathing, but not nasal breathing, would increase Pth, and that subjects would perceive this change as an increase in vocal effort. Following 15 minutes of oral breathing, Pth increased at comfortable and low pitch (p < 0.01) with 6 of 10 subjects reporting increased vocal effort. Nasal breathing reduced Pth at all three pitches (p < 0.01), and 7 of 10 subjects reported decreased vocal effort. Over all subjects, 49% of the variance in treatment-induced change in Pth was accounted for by change in vocal effort (R = 0.70). We posit that obligatory oral breathing places healthy subjects at risk for symptoms of increased vocal effort. The facilitatory role of superficial hydration on vocal fold oscillation should be considered in biomechanical models of phonation and in the clinical prevention of laryngeal dryness.
See smelling to diagnose infection and disease 

Diet and nose breathing

Hey Mike, I just read
some of your subscribers questions and noticed one about having narrow nasal passages.  The guy was considering surgery.  As relates to that problem, I have noticed that when I shift to diaphragm breathing and progress to where my intestines are pushed all the way down and simultaneously my chest is expanded, all of a sudden there is a physiological shift in my neck and jaw and my sinuses and nostrils pop fully open. 
It is a wonderful feeling of totality, and it is sustainable if I keep breathing in this way.  At this stage of my development, it takes a very conscious and persistent effort to get to this place, but I am looking forward to the day when it is my normal modus operandi.
I just thought that subscriber might benefit from hearing this before diving under the surgeon's knife. Thanks, and keep up the quest.
Dan Trail

From Mike:

One of our school core faculty members advises us that there is recent research showing that when we breathe in through the nose we produce nitric oxide. This nitric oxide works as a vaso dilator.  Mouth breathing bypasses this NO2 production. Without NO2 our breathing chemistry is compromised causing a lessening (vaso constriction) in our airways, arteries and capillaries. This reduces oxygenation to the cells. Their are as yet no studies on the outcome of this but the implications  are huge.  For example, infants and children with food allergies from dairy, grains, chocolate etc get their little nostrils stuffed up and that forces them to breathe through their mouths. This most likely reduces oxygen uptake to their developing brains and bodies. In addition, I often read about increases in snoring amongst children.  Mouth breathing during waking and sleeping hours is a contributor to snoring. Gradually, muscle tissues in the mouth and throat are stretched beyond their intended range. When this happens, snoring and the health risks associated with OSA increase. Snoring stems largely from collapsed or constricted breathing passages.  So does sleep apnea. 

I read where a 15 years ago a professor of psychology who was greatly interested in breathing had a graduate student sit in a medical doctor’s office and asked them to watch breathing patterns in the waiting room patients. The student noticed that something approximately 84 percent of the people in the waiting room had disturbed breathing patterns indicative of correlations with what I now call Undetected Dysfunctional Breathing or UDB.  Regardless of their medical problem, they seemed to have disturbed breathing.  Though some leading edge MDs are beginning to notice poor breathing probably none of those people 15 years ago were going to go to the MD and have something done about their breathing.

Several colleagues have pointed out that most children have developed poor breathing by age 11. I lost mine TWICE by age 12.  This may be a stretch for some of you but I believe that this widespread loss stems from bad as well as well meaning sources. Bad would be stress, poor nutrition, abuse, trauma and little to no exercise.  Well meaning could be social conditioning (also potentially very stressful) and cultural mores such as preparation for "proper" social conduct. Politeness and reserve can be overdone. Add taboo and unwarranted fears causing chronic hesitancy and or inhibition when too often repeated will habitually become engrained in the tissues and cause chronic restrictions in the way one breathes.


THE LAUSON SYSTEM: 9 Keys To Lower Facial Harmony. (Mike included some links to his various approaches).

Key # 1 Upper Jaw (Maxilla)
The upper jaw holds the key in many ways to facial beauty and proper function of the lower face and teeth. It should be wide and full to accommodate all normal 14 teeth in proper alignment, provide proper lip support and when the patient is giving a full smile not expose ‘dark triangles’ between the teeth and the cheeks or show an excessively ‘gummy’ smile.
Key # 2 Nasal Passageway
The ability to properly breath (without obstruction) through their nose is critical in many ways to a person’s health and vitality. Obstructions for whatever reason need be evaluated and eliminated. Without elimination of the obstruction, mouth breathing can result and lead to many unnecessary problems including poor facial and dental development.
Key # 3 Lower Jaw (Mandible)
The lower jaw should be in balance with the upper jaw. The most common imbalance is retrusion of the lower jaw created by a trapping of it by an overbite or a narrow upper jaw and can lead to TMJ Dysfunctions, poor (forward) head posture or even Obstructive Sleep Apnea. With balance, teeth can be positioned ideally and facial harmony can be established.
Key # 4 TMJ Function
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint on each side of the face in front of the ears. It is used for speaking and eating and is the most complex joint in the human body. The TMJ’s becomes dysfunctional when they become strained because the positions of the teeth are forcing the lower jaw out of alignment and into a pathologic position. The TMJ’s are the cornerstone of a proper bite and must be corrected if dysfunctional. If not, a myriad of symptoms, such as headaches, facial pain, clicking jaw joints and problems with the eyes and ears will appear and worsen over time.
Key # 5 Head Posture
Proper head posture is very important concerning a person’s neck and back health. Teeth and jaw positions profoundly influence head posture. If proper balance is achieved with the first four keys above, then head posture can be positively influenced. Further care from a neck and back doctor or therapist also can be made much more effective.
Key # 6 Avoidance of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious medical problem affecting as much as 20% of the population. It can lead to heart disease and even to premature death do to strokes, heart attacks or choking in the night. OSA is a cutting off of airflow while a person is sleeping. This causes a person to stop breathing during an Apnea event. The most common reason for OSA is for the lower jaw to be too far back (retruded)Another common contributor to this problem is a narrow upper jaw. By properly following the first 6 Keys listed, in all likelihood OSA can be avoided.
Key # 7 Proper Facial Symmetry
Facial asymmetries can develop because of a mismatch of the upper and lower jaw and because the teeth don’t match up right, this causes the lower jaw to shift to one side or the other. This is almost always the fault of a narrow upper jaw which Key # 1 talks about. A correction should be made early in life or complications such as a TMJ Dysfunction may occur.
Key # 8 Elimination of Adverse Habits
Youthful habits such as thumb or finger sucking, nail or pencil biting or anything putting adverse pressures in the mouth need to be eliminated. These can not only lead to adverse tooth movements requiring orthodontic treatment, but can have other health consequences.
Key # 9 Proper teeth positioning
Crowding or spacing of front teeth is the most obvious that untrained eye can easily see. However, for the trained orthodontist or dentist, problems that are less obvious also need to be addressed. These can be things like crossbites, overbites, underbites, in addition to the crowding or spacing previously mentioned. Proper positioning of the teeth and jaws, through orthodontic/orthopedic treatment, if necessary, can assure that the first 8 keys are achieved and maintained. Decades ago Andrew’s 6 Keys to Normal Occlusion” established a guideline for dental specialists to use regarding this key. This is assuming the full complement of 28 teeth are maintained and that permanent teeth are not extracted during orthodontic treatment.
Discussion regarding The New Orthodontics: The Lauson System: 9 Keys to Lower Facial Harmony is a system that Dr Kent Lauson developed over the last 25+ year in his private orthodontic and TMJ practice. These 9 Keys are goals of treatment within his office for each of his patients and ones that he recommends other orthodontists follow as well. By following these goals, the most healthy, beautiful and stable results can be achieved and a very positive effect on the health of the entire body can be achieved.

The takeaway from this, is that the book is recommending correcting all of these conditions without the use of surgery or extraction of permanent teeth.  In fact my protocol  can correct the constricted nasal passageways and deviated septums as well to help correct or prevent sleep disordered breathing.  If you would like to see more information on the book, please go to www.StraightTalkaboutCrookedTeeth.org  

MOUTH BREATHING

I came across your page and it feeds right into what I am doing.

I teach the 5 Tibetan Rites (as detailed in "Fountain of Youth" by Kelder). A question arose as to the proper breathing.

The book says breathe in through the nose, breathe out through the mouth. This feels right to me. But I then read in some esoteric yoga books from India that you always breathe in and out through the nose.

From Mike;

There are so many people that do not study the breath, pass themselves as experts and teach harmful practices.  

Exhaling through the mouth is very bad information.

We uptake most of our oxygen during the exhale. The size of the nostrils creates back-pressure that holds air in a little longer so that the O2 has more time to be extracted from the air in the lungs.

The more you can function by breathing in and out through the nose the better except when singing or extreme states of fight, fight, freeze, faking it or fun. including sex). Then you will need to take in a lot of air and need both nose and mouth.

If you inherited your very large father’s lungs and your very small mother’s nostrils you will have to breathe in AND out through the mouth more often. This is an extreme and rare example but it illustrates better the issue of volume combined with air intake hole size. 

An aid to nose breathing 

Our recommended program which includes our Optimal Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise

Another approach

Apnea-surgical   Apnea neurological    Apnea Hypertension   Apnea Digeridoo   Apnea Youth Fitness    Apnea Chemistry    Apnea Mechanical    Nose Breathing    Apnea and Oxygen  Apnea Herbal Relief   Apnea the Non Disease   Apnea Quiz   Sleeping Snoring Strokes  

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The breathing improvement techniques, practices and products outlined in this publication are extremely gentle, and should, if carried out as described, be beneficial
to your overall physical and psychological health. If you have any serious medical or psychological problem, however, such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
cancer, mental illness, or recent abdominal or chest surgery, you should consult your health professional before undertaking these practices.

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