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Mouth Breathing Harmful to Health

Mouth Breathing Harmful to Health - Who knows when "mouth-breather" became an insult synonymous with "dork" or "dweeb," like a character from "Napoleon Dynamite." But listen to the heavy breathers that are likely surrounding you: It's January, when more of us are prone to the sniffles, which means more of us have stuffy noses, which means -- we've entered the month of the mouth-breather.

But the term isn't just a barb that tracksuited TV villain Sue Sylvester loves to hurl like a slushie at the "Glee" kids; experts say that breathing while slack-jawed can actually lead to some surprisingly unpleasant health problems. If you're fighting a cold right now, you know your inability to suck any air through your congested nostrils can cause dry mouth, dragon breath and lack of sleep, for starters. You'll be fine when you kick the crud; the big problems start when you've become a chronic mouth-breather -- children and adults with allergies, for example.

As Dr. Yosh Jefferson, a New Jersey functional orthodontist, explains, "Mouth-breathing also irritates the tonsils and adenoids, so you have a double whammy where the sinuses are congested, which causes further blockage of the upper airway." Now you really can't breathe out of that nose. What's more, when you take in oxygen through your nose, it passes over the mucous membrane and into the sinuses, which produces nitric oxide, which your body needs for all the smooth muscles, like your heart and your blood vessels. So when you're not breathing through your nose, your blood actually isn't getting all the oxygen it needs to function properly.

Mouth Breathing Harmful to Health

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