This article will discuss the various snoring remedies for mouth breathers. Snoring with an open mouth is a perennial problem for millions of people worldwide. In view of this problem, various snoring cures and remedies have been developed in an endeavor to prevent mouth breathing at night. These remedies come in the form of devices and/or supports that have been designed with a view to stop mouth breathing while sleeping. Snoring and mouth breathing are serious problems that should not be overlooked. Indeed, one study explored the relationship between snoring, mouth breathing while sleeping, and the morphology of the facial shape in 15-year old children – and found that children who snored had a longer face, reduced nose prominence and width, as well as a jaw that was held back (over-bite).
Mouth breathing during sleep is something that many people do simply out of habit. While the way that you breathe as you sleep may not seem like a big deal, it can actually influence a number of health factors. People who breathe through their mouth generally do not receive enough oxygen, usually snore, and may even suffer from sleep apnea. Now that you are aware of the issues, it is important that we discuss how to stop mouth breathing so that you are well on your way to getting a good night’s rest.
Remedies for Snoring
Several orthodontic prostheses have been developed and marketed in an endeavour to reduce mouth breathing and snoring in general by preventing mouth breathing while sleeping. These prostheses can be categorized as follows – soft-palate lifters, tongue retaining devices and mandibular advancement appliances. The first category (soft-palate lifters) is hardly in use today, so we shall scope the discussion to the remaining two categories. These prostheses work to prevent the tongue from falling back as well as causing a forward movement of the jaw (mandible). The forward movement of the jaw keeps the airway patent and prevents turbulent airflow which is responsible for the acoustic reverberations in snoring. This can be seen in Figure 1 below, where the jaw is held forward and prevents snoring with an open mouth. This has the added advantage of preventing dryness of the oral cavity (i.e. throat, tongue and oral membranes) as the mouth is kept closed and the oral cavity is not exposed to the ambient air.
Similarly, by preventing the tongue from falling back, the airway is kept patent and a partial obstruction is averted.
Figure 2: Tongue Retaining Device
Alternative Remedies for Snoring
For those who can’t afford these devices or simply want to try more natural methods of preventing mouth-breathing while sleeping. One of these methods is by ensuring that the nasal cavity and sinuses are free from obstruction. When the sinuses and nostrils are congested or blocked, there is a tendency for the body to adopt mouth breathing to ensure adequate ventilation. Nasal clearance using saline flushes or even inhaled mentholatum have been validated as effective remedies for mouth breathing. Another natural remedy is that of “mewing” which is a set of orofacial exercises that need to be performed daily for at least several months to naturally bring the jaw forward by developing the jaw muscles. However, this method requires strict discipline and consistency to achieve tangible results and put a halt to mouth breathing permanently.
Practice Nasal Breathing
This is a basic way to help get out of the habit of mouth breathing. Throughout the day simply practice breathing through your nose. This will help your body get used to how it feels breathing this way and will encourage your body to adjust to nasal breathing all of the time. It is also suggested to perform breathing exercises. To do this, you inhale through your nose and exhale with your mouth. This will encourage proper breathing while also reducing anxiety and stress. With time, you will adjust to this new way of breathing and will occur naturally as you sleep.
Sleep On Your Back
Sleeping on your back is a good position to promote nasal breathing. This position opens the airways and allows breathing to come more naturally. What’s more is that it allows proper nasal drainage so that your nose has less of a chance of becoming blocked. An open airway is an important answer to how to stop mouth breathing. If your airway becomes obstructed, many people automatically shift to mouth breathing out of habit. However if sleeping on your back causes your tongue to fall back and block your airway then this method of sleeping may not be recommended to stop mouth breathing.
Treat Nasal Congestion
Sometimes people breathe out of their mouths simply because they are congested. In order to avoid this problem, treat any signs of cold or sinus problems immediately. You may need to take medication or even wear nasal strips. Making sure that your nose is clear will ensure your ability to properly breathe as you sleep. This will greatly reduce the chances of you breathing through your mouth.
Eating a balance diet plays a critical role in your health. It is also essential in making sure that you are breathing properly. Eating a balanced diet will decrease your chances of obesity. Excessive weight can make breathing difficult because it increases pressure on your nasal cavities and lungs. Keeping your weight down will keep your airways open and make it easier to breathe while you sleep.
These suggestions are just a few options when trying to figure out how to stop mouth breathing. It may be difficult to get out of the habit of mouth breathing, especially because you may not be completely aware that you are doing it. However, there are a number of health problems that mouth breathing can cause so it is important to try to break the cycle. This will help you leave a healthier and productive life, not to mention get a better night’s sleep.
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Kotecha, B. and Shneerson, J. M. (2003) 'Treatment options for snoring and sleep apnoea', Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 96(7), pp. 343-344.
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