The founder of the American Rhinological society, Dr Maurice Cottle, stated that the nose performs at least 30 functions, but at least 50% of modern children are permanent mouth breathers.
Why is the nose treated as an optional or redundant appendage?
Here is a shorter list of reasons to convince you!
1) Air inhaled through the nose is warmed and moistened, so it does not irritate the sensitive airways.
2) Air exhaled through the nose reabsorbs moisture efficiently, reducing dehydration.
3) Air inhaled through the nose is filtered, (spun as it rushes round specially designed structures the concha or turbinates, so any particles – allergens, microbes – stick to the mucus lining of the airways where they are destroyed by enzymes and gases with anti- microbial properties).
4) Nasal breathing promotes good oral health. Mouth breathing causes a drying out of the gums, increases the acidity in the mouth encouraging both cavities and gum disease.
5) Breathing through the nose encourages good facial development in children, and straight teeth. A closed mouth, with the tongue where is should be, in the roof of the mouth for most of the time, can help the jaw grow enough to accommodate all the teeth.
6) Nasal breathing helps reduces snoring and sleep apnoea and ensure a good night’s sleep.
7) Nasal breathing is good for head and neck stability and strength. The tongue is a very strong muscle and when it is pressed into the roof of the closed mouth and the head stays balanced at the top of the neck.
8) Nasal breathing helps to set the breathing pattern or rhythm. Sensors in the nasal cavity that not only detect odours in the environment, but also the temperature of the air and the flow of the air coming in. The air is monitored, and breathing in cold air can reduce breathing rate, a good adaptation to keep warm and to keep blood circulating to the extremities.
9) Mouth breathers have lower CO2 in their systems, therefore lower oxygen in their cells. Low CO2 tightens the airways and the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the tissues, and also reduces transfer of oxygen from the blood into the tissues.
10) The gas nitric oxide (or NO) is made in the nasal sinuses and during nasal breathing moves down into the lungs where it optimises oxygen transfer into the blood stream.
11) Nasal breathing encourages correct diaphragmatic breathing rather than upper chest breathing, and stimulates the parasympathetic “rest and restore” rather than “fight or flight” arm of the autonomic nervous system.
Pace yourself so you can breathe through the nose at all times…
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