I’ve been fascinated by breathing recently, especially that of nasal breathing. The following article was taken from healthline, but I highly recommend James Nestor’s recent book, Breath.
Whether it’s through your nose or through your mouth, oxygen will travel through your throat and to your lungs. But there are some important differences between nose (nasal) breathing and mouth breathing.
Your nose is designed to help you breathe safely, efficiently, and properly. It can do this due to its ability to:
- Filter out foreign particles. Nasal hair filters out dust, allergens, and pollen, which helps prevent them from entering your lungs.
- Humidify inhaled air. Your nose warms and moisturizes the air you breathe in. This brings the air you inhale to body temperature, making it easier for your lungs to use.
- Produce nitric oxide. During nasal breathing, your nose releases nitric oxide (NO). NO is a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen blood vessels. This can help improve oxygen circulation in your body.
Your mouth helps you eat, drink, and talk. You can also use your mouth to breathe, but it doesn’t have many of the unique features that your nose has for this purpose.
In some cases, mouth breathing is necessary. You might need to breathe through your mouth if you have:
- nasal congestion
- a deviated septum
- small nostrils
Yet, breathing primarily through your mouth is associated with some consequences. With mouth breathing, your mouth loses moisture, which can cause dry mouth. It also increases your chances of:
- inhaling unfiltered air
- allergic reactions to allergens
- bad breath
- tooth decay
- gum inflammation (gingivitis)
- sleep apnea
- teeth or jaw abnormalities
Nasal breathing is more beneficial than mouth breathing. Breathing through your nose can help filter out dust and allergens, boost your oxygen uptake, and humidify the air you breathe in.
Mouth breathing, on the other hand, can dry out your mouth. This may increase your risk of bad breath and gum inflammation. Mouth breathing may also make you more prone to allergies, asthma, and coughing.
To improve your consistency of breathing through your nose, try exercises like alternate nostril breathing, belly breathing, and Breath of Fire. These techniques may help you establish the habit of nasal breathing while enhancing your lung function (and reducing stress).
*Every 2-minutes, stop and do 15 jump-squats.