How to Stop Mouth Breathing
(This is Module 7 of the Learning Section)
Breathing through the mouth is a sign of chronic hyperventilation. It reduces absorption of nitric oxide (a powerful hormone that is generated in sinuses) and concentration of carbon dioxide in airways and arterial blood causing cell hypoxia in all vital organs. Mouth breathing suppresses of the immune systems and has many other pathological effects (for medical research quotes follow the links at the bottom of this web page). Mouth breathing during sleep is one of the two central factors responsible for highest mortality rates in the severely sick during early morning hours. Is it possible to stop mouth breathing?
Healthy people with a high CP (over 40 or 60 s for the body-oxygen test - or stress-free breath holding time test done after usual exhalation) do not breathe through the mouth at all. If they try, their CP will be below 40 s. On the other hand, if you observe sick people, you will notice that breathing through the mouth frequently occurs. It happens naturally at night as well when the CP is below 20 s.
With over 20 s for the current CP, a person can have nasal breathing, but partial nose blockage is still possible. With over 30 s CP, breathing through the nose is easy.
Buteyko Mouth Taping Technique
In the 1960s, Russian patients invented mouth taping to ensure nasal breathing and stop mouth breathing during the night. Mouth taping is now a part of the Buteyko breathing method. Read more about Mouth taping for better sleep and higher body oxygen levels in the morning.
Nasal breathing during the day
Remember that for maximum body-oxygen levels, we need to breathe through the nose 24/7, even during physical exercise (see Effects of Exercise on the Respiratory System for more detail). Always slow down or take 1-2 min rest if you exercise so intensively that you get a strong urge to open your mouth.
Some older people may use mouth taping during the day, if they have memory problems or can forget about the role of nasal breathing due to other factors.
If you have family members or friendly co-workers and you want to prevent mouth-breathing during the day, tell them that your doctor (Dr. Artour Rakhimov) prescribed you nasal breathing 24/7. Ask them to pay attention to the way you breathe and remind you about your commitment to solve this problem.
Use stickers on your PC screen, doors, desks, etc. reminding you, "Breathe only through the nose". Keep a large mirror on your working desk so that you can see your face and the way you breathe through.
If you have children, promise them a small treat if they catch you breathing through the mouth.
Your struggle will not be long if you increase your morning CP up to 20 s or more. Hence, carefully study other Modules so that you can move up to the safe zone and get busy with more advanced challenges in your life and your Buteyko journey.
PDF Manual "How to stop mouth breathing" (3-page PDF file)
Related web pages
- Why breathing should be strictly nasal (Homepage Section webpage)
- The breathing exercise to unblock the nose (Article - Buteyko breathing exercise)
- Stop Coughing at Night (Article - Buteyko breathing exercise)
- Get Rid of Cough (Article - Buteyko breathing exercise)
- More research articles and abstracts about other benefits of nasal breathing (Web page about mouth breathing and morning fatigue; Sleep apnea and snoring; Mouth breathing in asthmatics; etc.)
- Devastating effects of mouth breathing on health of infants and children (with medical research articles and abstracts)
- Nasal nitric oxide research
Reference pages: Breathing norms and medical facts:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- 6 breathing myths: Myths and superstitions about breathing and body oxygenation (prevalence: over 90%)
- Hyperventilation: Definitions of hyperventilation: their advantages and weak points
- Hyperventilation syndrome: Western scientific evidence about prevalence of chronic hyperventilation in patients with chronic conditions (37 medical studies)
- Normal minute ventilation: Small and slow breathing at rest is enjoyed by healthy subjects (14 studies)
- Hyperventilation prevalence: Present in over 90% of normal people (24 medical studies)
- HV and hypoxia: How and why deep breathing reduces oxygenation of cells and tissues of all vital organs
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
- Body oxygen in healthy: Results for the body-oxygen test for healthy people (27 medical studies)
- Body oxygen in sick : Results for the body-oxygen test for sick people (14 medical studies)
- Buteyko Table of Health Zones: Clinical description and ranges for breathing zones: from the critically ill (severely sick) up to super healthy people with maximum possible body oxygenation
- Morning hyperventilation: Why people feel worse and critically ill people are most likely to die during early morning hours
References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in tissues
- Cell oxygen levels: How alveolar CO2 influences oxygen transport
- Oxygen transport: O2 transport is controlled by vasoconstriction-vasodilation and the Bohr effects, both of which rely on CO2
- Free radical generation: Reactive oxygen species are produced within cells due to anaerobic cell respiration caused by cell hypoxia
- Inflammatory response: Chronic inflammation in fueled by the hypoxia-inducible factor 1, while normal breathing reduces and eliminates inflammation
- Nerve stabilization: People remain calm due to calmative or sedative effects of carbon dioxide in neurons or nerve cells
- Muscle relaxation: Relaxation of muscle cells is normal at high CO2, while hypocapnia causes muscular tension, poor posture and, sometimes, aggression and violence
- Bronchodilation: Dilation of airways (bronchi and bronchioles) is caused by carbon dioxide, and their constriction by hypocapnia (low CO2)
- Blood pH: Regulation of blood pH due to breathing and regulation of other bodily fluids
- CO2: lung damage: Elevated carbon dioxide prevents lung injury and promotes healing of lung tissues
- CO2: Topical carbon dioxide can heal skin and tissues
- Synthesis of glutamine in the brain, CO2 fixation, and other chemical reactions
- Deep breathing myth: Ignorant and naive people promote the idea that deep breathing and breathing more air at rest is beneficial for health
- Breathing control: How is our breathing regulated? Why hypocapnia makes breathing uneven, irregular and erratic.
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