Mouth-breathing vs Nose-breathing: Effects on Face, Teeth, Jawline

Breathing through your mouth can have huge consequences for your face, teeth, and overall health.
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Mouth-breathing vs Nose-breathing: Effects on Face, Teeth, Jawline | How to Stop Mouthbreathing

Mouthbreathing may be an issue impeding a perfectly shaped face and good posture. Mewing app techniques will show you how to fix a mouthbreathing face.

What Is Mouth Breathing?

Mouth breathing means using your mouth as the main airway during respiration. While nose breathing is healthy and critical when it comes to mewing exercises, open-mouth breathing usually causes problems. A tendency to breathe through the mouth often begins in childhood. So, the earlier you start improving posture and face balance, the better. Whatever age you are, initiating this change is possible and beneficial.

Why Is Mouth Breathing Bad?

According to Dr. Mew, mouth breathing can result in various complications concerning posture, respiration, and face shape. So, is breathing through your mouth bad? 

Let’s see some of the problems caused by mouth breathing:

  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Bad breath
  • Long face
  • Baggy eyes with dark circles
  • Narrow nostrils
  • Trouble sealing lips
  • Narrow upper jaw
  • Overbite and crowded teeth
  • Constant fatigue and irritation
  • Brain fog
  • Snoring and drooling during sleep
  • Sleep disorders (insomnia)
  • Diseases of the nasal sinuses and lymphoid tissue

What Is “Mouth Breathing Face”?

A mouth-breathing face is easily recognized due to its poor face and posture balance. There are a few pronounced features of a mouth-breathing face, including

  • A narrow and long face
  • Set back jawline
  • Cheekbones are poorly defined
  • Head posture is moved forward
  • Receding chin
  • Open mouth
  • Crooked nose
Mouth-breathing vs Nose-Breathing face
Mouth-breathing vs Nose-Breathing face

Does Mouth Breathing Change Your Face?

As you can see from the photos and description, mouth breathing does change your face drastically and develops so called “long face”. There are a lot of photo proofs with people telling how mouth breathing ruined their face. 

Long term Mouth breathing effect on man's face
Effect of long term mouth breathing
Mouth breathing face: girl
Mouth breathing face: boy

Can You Fix Mouth Breathing Face?

For most people, mouthbreathing is a long-term problem, caused by adenoids, allergies, deviated septum, or a stuffy nose. Fornutalety, it is possible to fix mouth breathing face with the correct tongue posture and nasal breathing. The primary step is to stop breathing through the mouth and keep the lips sealed. 

Please note, if you have disturbances of nasal breathing or the shape and position of the jaws and teeth, it is necessary to consult a specialist.

The main recommendations to fix mouth breathing face include:

There’s also more information on how to get rid of the double chin and fat neck from mouth breathing. Mewing can be a cure for long face from mouth breathing, as well as for other dysfunctions.

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Mouth Breather vs Nose Breather Face

The problem of mouth breathing should be eliminated at the youngest age possible to avoid mouth breather face in the future. However, treating mouth breathing in adults is also very effective and more controlled, due to the level of responsibility. 

A nose breather vs mouth breather comparison demonstrates what is a well-balanced face compared to a flawed face shape. 

Mouth breather’s face has

  • A low tongue posture
  • Long narrow face
  • Mouth breathing
  • Narrow jaws
  • Tired eyes

While nose breather’s face shows:

  • Lips gently sealed
  • Facial symmetry
  • Nasal breathing
  • Tongue on the roof of the mouth
mouth breathing affect facial development

Effects of Mouth-Breathing

As was mentioned, the unpleasant effects of mouth-breathing are inevitable. They concern face shape, jawline, respiration, and teeth. 

Mouth-Breathing Effects on Face Shape

A mouth breather’s face is usually long and has a double chin, due to a permanent relaxation of the lower third of the face. As a result, appears a long-face syndrome, characterized by small narrow nostrils, thin upper lip, toothy or gummy smile, and vacant facial expression. Moreover, the open lip posture of the mouth breathers is often associated with a “more backwardly rotated face and larger lower facial height”, Journal of international oral health reports.  

Profile change caused by mouth breathing
Profile change caused by mouth breathing

Mouth-Breathing Effects on the Jawline

A mouthbreather’s jawline tends to be set back, because of the underdeveloped face muscles. Thus, the muscles of the face, jaws, tongue, and neck start to pull on the bones, slowly deforming them. The normal upper jaw position is around the tongue, while mouth breathing unable the tongue to rest at the roof of the mouth. This results in “a poorer developed, narrow, V-shaped top jaw”, Irish Dentist Journal posts, based on Dr. Mew’s study. 

mouth-breathing effect on jawline
Mouth-breathing effect on the jawline

Mouth-Breathing Effect on Teeth

The effect of mouth breathing on teeth is probably the most severe. When mouth breathing emerges in childhood, it causes narrowing of the jaws. Once a kid loses baby teeth, there’s already no room for normal growth of the adult teeth. Resulting in misalignment and if not treated promptly, it leads to further problems and thousands spent at the dentist.

Mouth-Breathing Effect on Teeth
Mouth-Breathing Effect on Teeth

Recessed Maxilla

A maxilla is a bone that goes around your nose and forms the upper jaw, lower eye sockets, and cheeks. Mouth breathing causes the maxilla to set back. Sometimes it causes slight changes like an overdeveloped jaw or flat cheekbones. Also, it may result in teeth misalignment and respiration difficulties. 

Maxilla

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

One of the most damaging effects of mouth breathing is snoring and sleep apnea. According to Dr. Mew, mouth breathing narrows down the airway, resulting in snoring. Snoring, in turn, is dangerous because of sleep apnea, when your breathing repeatedly stops for a while in your sleep.

snoring due to habitual mouthbreathing

Oxygen & Sleep

As researched by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine back in 2000, mouth breathing causes asthma episodes, due to narrowed down airways. Especially when sleeping, it’s important to have enough fresh and clean air to avoid mouth breathing complications.

mouth breathing vs nose breathing during sleep

Mouth breathing in your sleep causes snoring and sleep apnea

Mouthbreathing effect on speech

Surely, teeth misalignment, bad posture, and complicated respiration lead to speech changes. Moreover, mouth breathing makes the roof of your mouth narrower. Thus, the tongue doesn’t have enough space for normal articulation. 

Braces & Teeth Stability 

Due to a narrowed palate (the roof of your mouth), teeth stability is breached. There’s not enough space for the teeth which often leads mouth breathers to the dentists. However, while the issue of mouth breathing is not solved, even braces won’t bring a desirable result. 

narrowed palate and crowded teeth due to mouthbreathing
narrowed palate and crowded teeth due to mouth breathing

Mouth Breathing and Anxiety

One of the most common effects of mouth breathing is anxiety. It is a frequent problem when we’re nervous to gasp the air through the mouth. It then becomes a habit and leads to even more anxiety. Patrick McKeown, an expert in the field of breathing, states that for those who habitually breathe through their mouths, the negative side effects of stress become chronic. 

Mouth Breathing vs. Nose Breathing

Nose breathing is natural and correct, providing more efficiency with mewing and more wellness benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Nasal Breathing?

Although nasal breathing seems to be undoubtedly right, there are certain reasons why:

  • Full oxygen saturation of the lungs and other organs
  • Normal respiratory metabolism 
  • Airways are wide enough to ensure unobstructed breathing
  • High energy level
  • Better lung capacity
  • Strong diaphragm
  • Lower risk of allergies, cough, snoring, and sleep apnea
  • Stronger immune system
  • Correct formation of mouth and teeth
  • The inhaled air is warm and humidified
  • Reduced exposure to foreign substances
  • The sense of smell is not distorted

Nose breathing benefits

How to Tell If You Are Breathing Through Your Mouth

If you don’t notice breathing through the mouth during the day, maybe it happens when you sleep. You’re probably mouth breathing in your sleep if you wake up feeling:  

  • Tired and sleep-deprived
  • Dry mouth
  • Snoring
  • Teeth clenching
  • Bad breath

You can also examine your face and posture and notice typical mouth breathing features:

  • Long face
  • Receding chin
  • Flat cheekbones
  • Poorly defined jawline
  • Inclined forward head
  • Open and dry mouth
sleep breathing through the mouth
Do you sleep breathing through your mouth like that?

Causes of Mouth Breathing

In most cases, mouth breathing isn’t just a matter of habit. Many people start breathing through the mouth because of respiratory diseases. It happens when blocked nasal airways make nose breathing impossible. 

Brazilian researchers found the following most common causes of mouth breathing:

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Enlarged adenoids 
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Obstructive deviation of the nasal septum 

Apart from these most common reasons, there is more of what causes mouth breathing in adults:

  • Stuffy nose caused by allergies, chronic sinus infection, or cold
  • Nasal polyps (growths of tissue in the lining of the nose)
  • Genetic abnormalities related to the shape of the nose or jaw
  • Tumors

As for the causes of nighttime mouth breathing, the most common are snoring and sleep apnea. The latter often triggers mouth breathing to provide the body with oxygen, since blocked airways don’t allow nose breathing. 

Mouth breathing vs Nose breathing

How to Fix Mouth Breather Face

Sure, health comes first, and once you realize you have a mouth breather’s face, it’s crucial to deal with the cause of it. When it’s done, you may start working on your face shape. 

There are a few important steps to do to reverse mouth breathing face:

  1. Learn about the benefits of nose breathing and start breathing through your nose as much as possible
  2. Discover more about mewing and correct tongue posture

Stopping Mouth Breathing: Before and After Photos

There are a lot of people online who are glad to share their journey from being mouth breathers to becoming nose breathers. They show how much their face shapes changed for the better. Look at their amazing results and catch inspiration.

stop mouth breathing: before and after
Nose breathing: before and after
Before and after stopping mouth breathing
Before and after stopping mouth breathing
Effect of nasal breathing on the face
Effect of nasal breathing on the face
Effects of fixed mouth breathing
Effects of fixed mouth breathing

How to Stop Mouth Breathing

As mentioned above, the most important step is to eliminate the underlying causes of mouth breathing. Depending on the severity of an issue, some people just need to get mouth breathing treatments for snoring. While others have to go through a surgery or therapy, if the cause of mouth breathing is adenoids or deviated septum, for example. The recommended measures on how to fix mouth breathing can take place both during the daytime and when you sleep, for the best effect.

Regular Practice

The most important thing to stop mouth breathing and fix a mouth breather’s face is regular practice. Only consistent mewing exercises and patience will get you a better face shape and posture. 

So, there are some useful guidelines to go from mouth breathing to nose breathing:

  • Make sure you keep your lips sealed day and night and breathe through the nose
  • Clean your nose with nasal saline irrigation to get rid of congestion, as Dr. Steven Park recommends, a surgeon with a specialty in sleep medicine
  • Reduce stress (to avoid gasping air with your mouth when you’re anxious)
  • Use proper big pillows with thick filling to balance the head height during sleep
  • Physical activity, like jogging, evokes the need for deep breaths with your nose, making it a habit
  • If it is necessary to consult a specialist. 
  • Visit a therapist to know what kind of exercises and treatment you need to start nose breathing

Nasal Breathing Training During Daytime:

  1. Correct breathing pattern: practice slow, deep breaths through your nose to reduce breathing rate
  2. Remind yourself to breathe through the nose with the help of stickers, timers, or special apps
  3. Try breathing exercises (they help to develop nose breathing and reduce anxiety) 

Nasal Breathing Training During Sleep:

  1. Clean your nose with saline decongestant before going to bed
  2. Try sealing your lips with tape for nighttime
  3. Wear a nose strip to help your nasal airways stay clear at night
  4. Sleep on your back and use a proper pillow for that (snoring and sleep apnea usually happen while sleeping on your back)
Nasal Breathing During Sleep
A proper pillow can help to deal with snoring

Mouth Breathing at Night

Even some daytime nose breathers sometimes encounter the problem of mouth breathing at night. Dr. Paul Henny, a dentist, explains why nighttime mouth breathing leads to chronic fatigue and distorted sleep pattern. “We initially lie down with open nasal passages,…as the night progresses, nasal tissues swell,… and our airway becomes more constricted. Blood oxygen and CO2 levels drop,... while adrenalin and cortisol are released. The adrenalin then awakens us to open the airway wider, and we switch to mouth-breathing to further increase air volume.”

A blocked airway as a result of mouth breathing

How to Stop Mouth Breathing While Sleeping

Taking into account all the harmful consequences, the issue of how to stop mouth breathing at night is crucial. We can’t control breathing through the mouth while sleeping, so, fortunately, professionals came up with useful devices to help us. Mouth strips and chin straps are invented to encourage nose breathing during sleep. Of course, they don’t cure the causes of mouth breathing, yet they help to form a habit of nose breathing and sealed mouth at night. 

Mouth Breathing While Sleeping

Mouth Strips for Nose Breathing

Mouth strips or tape are home remedies to encourage nose breathing at night. Dr. Mew recommends a mouth strip as a simple method for keeping your lips sealed during sleep. A pilot study found that mouth strips can be beneficial for mouth breathers suffering from snoring and mild sleep apnea. The strip prevents people from breathing through the mouth and helps to place the tongue closer to the roof of the mouth during sleep.

A mouth srtips for nose breathing

Chin Strap for Mouth Breathing

A chin strap for mouth breathing has similar functions to a mouth strip. It is created to keep your mouth shut during sleep and breathe through the nose, reducing snoring. 

Keep in mind that some experts have doubts about the effectiveness of chin straps, and in some cases they cause a risk to the temporomandibular joint. 

FAQ:

Can Mouth Breathing Face Be Reversed?

Yes, multiple reviews of former mouth breathers prove it. Depending on the severity of the underlying cause of mouth breathing (allergies, sinus infections, deviated septum, etc), some people need more or less time to improve their face shape and posture. Regular practice of nose breathing, tongue posture exercises, and patience can show amazing results.

List of resources

  1. https://spanawaydentalwellness.com/blog/mouthbreathing/
  2. https://tejas-ent.com/blog/top-7-methods-to-stop-mouth-breathing-right-away
  3. https://bmcoralhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12903-021-01458-7
  4. https://www.reflectivesmiles.com/services/mouth-breathing
  5. https://atlantagentledental.com/blog/airway.html
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1808869415301014
  7. https://www.healthline.com/health/mouth-breathing
  8. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22734-mouth-breathing
  9. https://www.mewing.app/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-double-chin-and-neck-fat
  10. https://www.youtube.com/c/Orthotropics
  11. https://www.oralhealthgroup.com/features/mouth-breathing-physical-mental-emotional-consequences/
  12. https://buteykoclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Buteyko-Mouth-Breathing.pdf
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295456/
  14. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/mouth-breathing#091e9c5e821cea42-2-9
  15. https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/mouth-breathing/
  16. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319487#how-is-mouth-breathing-treated
  17. https://www.martinhigginsphysiotherapy.co.uk/how-to-stop-mouth-breathing-in-children/
  18. https://cambriandental.ca/blog/why-you-should-stop-breathing-through-your-mouth/
  19. https://www.buoyhealth.com/learn/mouth-breathing-effects
  20. https://www.coloradoent.com/7-ways-to-stop-mouth-breathing/
  21. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/20/health/how-to-stop-mouth-breathing-sleep-wellness/index.html
  22. https://www.okoa.org/articles/how-to-stop-mouth-breathing
  23. https://boomboomnaturals.com/blogs/news/long-face-syndrome-mouth-breathing
  24. https://dentalsleeppractice.com/five-reasons-to-consider-taping-your-mouth-at-night/
  25. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/snoring/mouth-taping-for-sleep
  26. https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-treatments/snoring-chin-straps/
  27. https://sleepopolis.com/sleep-accessories/best-anti-snoring-chin-straps/

Written by
Victoria Punda
June 7, 2022