A 2016 study shows that individuals who breathe through their mouth while they sleep experience higher acidity levels than those who do not.
We have known that breathing out of your mouth dries it out and decreases the amount of saliva present. Saliva is important to regulate your mouth bacteria and neutralize acids. The chance of tooth decay is increased when your mouth has too little saliva.
This study measured ten healthy volunteers who slept with a nose clip to force them to breathe through their mouths. They slept with a device that measured the pH and temperature of their mouth. The volunteers wore this device to sleep for two sets of 48 hours. In addition, they wore the nose clip on two nights and without it for two nights to prevent any natural bias from affecting the study.
Mouth Breathing & Teeth: The Results
PH measures acidity, with pH 7 being neutral, under 7 is acidic, and above 7 is basic. An acidity level of pH 5.5 is the threshold in which tooth enamel begins to break down.
The results showed that a daytime mouth pH was 7.3 and during sleep it was 7.0. The mean pH during sleep with mouth breathing was 6.6. At some points during the night, mouth-breathing individuals had mouth pH levels of 3.6, which is far below the level in which tooth enamel breaks down.
The significance of the results shows that breathing through your mouth is detrimental to your overall oral health, but specifically tooth enamel through acid breakdown.
Are You A Mouth Breather?
Signs of breathing though your mouth include:
– Dry lips & throat
– Chronic bad breath
– Crowded teeth
– Red, inflamed gums
– Frequent cavities
– Regular respiratory and sinus infections
– Enlarged adenoids