Normal, well-developed airways allow normal breathing through the nose, with the mouth closed. Nasal breathing is important because it is now known to be vital to good health. Research has shown that air breathed through the nose is quite different to the body than air breathed through the mouth. The benefits of nasal breathing begin within hours of birth when nasal nitric oxide gas can first be detected. Nitric oxide is a potent gas and a key component of human health. Nitric oxide is produced in the nasal sinuses, secreted into the nasal passages and inhaled through the nose. It is well known to prevent bacterial growth, and in the lungs, nitric oxide improves the ability to absorb oxygen. Nitric oxide is a strong vasodilator and brain transmitter.
Furthermore, nitric oxide increases oxygen transport throughout the body and is vital to all body organs.
A good airway and normal nasal breathing are additionally important because nasal airway obstruction can lead to mouth breathing which over time can contribute to deformations in growth of the jaws and malocclusion of the teeth. These changes in the jaws can magnify between the ages of 3 and 12 years. Early diagnosis can lead to earlier orthopedic treatment with a palatal expander – which is a simple, conservative method of reducing nasal airway resistance. This type of treatment is much more effective and simpler to achieve at an early age than care at later ages. Schedule a consultation at our office today to find out if chronic mouth breathing has negatively affected your child’s optimal jaw growth!
(Excerpts taken from Orthotown Magazine November 2016. The Airway, Breathing & Orthodontics by Dr. David C. Page and Dr. Derek Mahony)