The issue of how you breathe is very important. Are YOU a mouth breather or a nasal breather?
Being a mouth breather, from an oral health perspective, from a body chemistry perspective, from a respiratory and breathing perspective is really important!
So maybe you’re wondering ‘what’s the problem with breathing through your mouth?!’
So here’s a little ‘Breathing 101’…
Noses are for breathing. Because noses warm, humidify and filter the air before we take it into our lungs.
When we breathe through our noses there are five levels of filtration; the fine hair in the nose, the mucous lining the nose, the sinuses that humidify the air, the adenoids filter as well as the tonsils filter.
If you breathe through your mouth, you’re bypassing the first four and relying solely on your tonsils.
Therefore, children with enlarged tonsils and/or children with recurring respiratory problems, if they’re breathing through their mouth, they’re not humidifying and filtering the air before they take it into their lungs.
When you breathe through your nose, 60% of the body’s nitric oxide is produced in the sinuses only. And nitric oxide is a very important body regulator, it’s anti-microbial as well!
If you’re breathing through your mouth, your mouth is dryer and you’re more susceptible to oral disease. Because of that, taping of the mouth is a wonderful thing.
A real life example, a patient came into Dr. Ron Ehrlich’s office for an orthodontic opinion. This patient was a 12 year old girl. Her parents filled out her history forms and Dr. Ehrlich spent an hour with her just going through her history, as he does with all of his new patients.
In her history it said she suffered from enuresis which is bed-wetting.
For a 12 year old girl enuresis is a problem. She’d already been to see a neurologist, urologist, psychologist, her parents had spent over $10,000, exploring a solution to this very serious problem. She had siblings that were eight and ten years old, neither of which wet the bed, so it was even more of an issue within the house.
Dr. Ehrlich, however, noticed that while she was sitting there, she had her mouth open and was really breathing at quite a high rate.
Ideally, apart from breathing through your nose, we also should be breathing around 8-12 breaths per minute. This 12 year old girl was over-breathing.
So knowing that she’d already been to all the other specialists and knowing about breathing, Dr. Ehrlich said to her parents, ‘Look, I think she’s over-breathing at night, I think she’s actually hyperventilating, and when you over-breathe like that what you do is eventually pump all the carbon dioxide out of the lungs and then you faint. Until the carbon dioxide levels are restored and then you’d wake up again.”
So what this 12 year old girl was doing, was over-breathing at night, which was pumping out too much carbon dioxide, and then that effected body chemistry. It affected the acid / alkaline balance in the body which causes smooth muscle to contract. Her bladder is smooth muscle.
So Dr. Ehrlich, suggested to her parents that she use some micropur tape on her mouth at night. The parents thought this was a crazy idea, but they tried it anyhow.
With the tape on her mouth, it calmed the girl’s breathing down, and it forced her to breathe through her nose. It also corrected her body chemistry and so her smooth muscles could relax instead of contract. And so in one night she stopped wetting the bed!
For adults – A lot of adults don’t wet the bed, but they do get up at night to go to the bathroom, and they don’t often associate that with breathing!
There are lots of reasons why you get up at night to go to the bathroom, ie. diabetes, enlarged prostate, a whole range of different reasons, but a very common reason that is often overlooked, is sleep disordered breathing.
Dr. Ehrlich himself religiously wears an appliance that holds his jaw slightly forward to make sure that he doesn’t snore and so it keeps his airway open. But that kept his mouth open a little bit, so he put tape on his mouth.
A tip for people using it: Don’t pull the tape off in the morning, because after a few days your lips will be very sore. Instead, poke your tongue out and then loosen it (it’s only paper micropur tape).
You will be surprised at the results.
There are basically three types of people when it comes to mouth taping ; 1) that think it’s crazy and so they don’t do it or even try it 2) they give it a go and find out that their nose is actually blocked and they need to find out why that is so. 3) That go wow, I just can’t believe that something as simple as this could make such a huge difference.
So you can actually use the tape diagnostically to determine whether you have a blocked nose or not.
Because as you breathe calmly through your nose and as your body chemistry corrects itself and as that nitric oxide is produced in the sinuses, it’s nature’s natural bronchodilator!
So the paradox here, is that the nose that you thought was blocked actually unblocks when you breathe calmly through your nose!!
BUT if you put the tape on and you go ‘Ah wow, no, not good! Actually I cant breathe!’ This means your sinuses are inflamed, you need to find out why. It could be a household dust issue, a mold issue, a food issue or there could be structural problems; a deviated septum, enlarged polyps or whatever, so you need to explore what that is.
But yes mouth tape is really good and there’s some excellent science to support it. For example there’s an excellent 2015 study in the Journal of Ofenware Neurology, which shows that mouth taping actually has quite an interesting effect on mild obstructive sleep apnea.
It also comes from a very long buteyko breathing technique, which is a Russian breathing technique, putting tape at night is apart of that very good program.
Source: Ehrlich, Ron, guest. “Dr Ron Ehrlich’s Prostate Cancer Success Story” Biohackers LAB, 2 August 2019. https://www.biohackerslab.com/ep94-dr-ron-ehrlich/