In an attempt to uncover these risks, James Nestor, a Stanford University scientist, allowed colleagues to block his nose with a surgical tape to measure the effects of breathing from his mouth for 10 days.
He said, “We knew that it would not be good, because there is a strong scientific basis that shows all the harmful effects of mouth breathing, ranging from gum disease to metabolic disorders.”
The surprise was how quickly the experiment affected him, as he suffered from high blood pressure and heart rate fluctuations, which made the body tense, in addition to snoring for long hours every night, causing obstructive sleep apnea.
“We had no idea it was going to be that bad,” Nestor said. “The snoring and sleep apnea were so tragic.”
Dr Stephen Park, a sleep medicine surgeon, said there is a long list of reasons why people breathe through their mouths at night.
Park added, “The most common cause is a blocked nose,” adding, “You think that if you open your mouth, you will breathe better, but the opposite happens in reality.”
Opening the jaws causes the tongue to retract backward, which leads to a blockage of the airway. “Even if you do not suffer from sleep apnea, or you suffer from mild sleep apnea, opening your mouth makes it much worse,” says Park.
In addition, Park suggested that the patient begin by taking care of his nose to reduce congestion, in addition to using saline.
He also advised to avoid eating before bedtime, because stomach juices can reach the nose, sinuses, ears and mouths, and cause congestion and infections.