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Increased Risk of Tooth Decay with Mouth Breathing

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay with Mouth BreathingBreathing through your mouth might be necessary during allergy season or if you’re sick, but it can pose serious problems for your dental health. According to a study that was published in the “Journal of Oral Rehabilitation,” mouth breathing increases the risk of tooth decay.

The study included ten participants who wore specially designed mouthpieces that measured the pH levels of their saliva. For four days, half of the participants wore nose clips to stimulate mouth breathing while the mouthpieces measured the basicity or acidity of their saliva. Those who wore nose clips and who breathed through their mouths had more acidic saliva, with an average pH of 6.6.

Saliva coats teeth and helps protect them against acid-producing oral bacteria, but as it decreases, its protective effects also decline. The acid is then able to more easily break down the enamel on teeth, and over time, a cavity can form.

Mouth breathers are not only at a higher risk of cavities, but can also be susceptible to dry mouth, oral infections, gingival inflammation, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, and gum disease. Untreated tooth decay and dental disease can lead to more serious problems, such as dental abscesses and the need for root canal treatment.

If you have dry mouth or frequently breathe through your mouth, talk to your doctor about identifying and treating the underlying cause. If you regularly breathe through your mouth, you also need to ensure you maintain scrupulously good dental health. Brush for at least two minutes each time, which should be twice a day or after meals, using a soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Clean between your teeth daily using floss or an interdental cleaner.

Call our office today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mondavi.

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