Mouth breathing becomes a habit by wearing a mask.


People usually breathe through the nose, but sometimes they breathe through the mouth. Especially when wearing a mask in hot weather. If mouth breathing becomes a habit, it causes poor physical condition such as increasing the risk of infection. Let's try to prevent it.

"The human nose is likened to an air purifier with excellent heating and humidifying functions." This is what Professor Masaaki Suzuki of the Department of Otolaryngology, Teikyo University Chiba Medical Center (Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture) says.

The air inhaled through the nose is warmed as it passes through the nasal cavity behind the nose, humidified, and then sent to the lungs. In the meantime, the pili and mucus that grow on the surface of the nose hair and mucous membranes remove foreign substances such as dust, bacteria and viruses. These protective functions work for nasal breathing.

In mouth breathing, the dirty air is sent directly to the lungs through the respiratory tract without being heated or humidified, which makes it "prone to infections such as colds."

There are other adverse effects of mouth breathing. According to Kazuaki Imai, director of Mirai Clinic (Fukuoka City), if mouth breathing causes chronic tonsillitis, immunity will be abnormal, and bacteria in the oral cavity will increase, resulting in false pneumonia. It becomes easy to become. "Mouth breathing may cause cerebral anxiety, hyperventilation, and emotional anxiety due to the effect of exhaling a large amount of carbon dioxide."

There are several factors that make nasal breathing into mouth breathing. For example, if you have a problem with your nose, such as a tendency to clog your nose due to rhinitis, or if you have a problem with your mouth, such as an enlarged pharyngeal tonsil in the back of your throat or a poor tooth engagement. In these cases, treatment of the root cause is needed.

Mouth breathing is likely to occur even during sleep. When the muscles around the mouth loosen and the mouth opens, the base of the tongue sinks. This can lead to snoring, shallow breathing, and apnea.

According to a survey by the Woman Wellness Study Group supervised by Professor Suzuki, 46% of 602 men and women aged 20 to 69 in the Tokyo metropolitan area were aware of mouth breathing while sleeping. "If you have a dry mouth, a sore throat, or bad breath when you wake up, you may have mouth breathing."

To prevent mouth breathing while sleeping, it is effective to improve the passage of the nose and use commercially available mouse tape. When using surgical tape for medical use, it is advisable to put it on both ends of the mouth in a V shape so that it will not come off with saliva.

Mouth breathing is often unknowingly a habit. This is because "mouth breathing has less air resistance in the airways and makes breathing easier" (Director Imai).

Dr. Imai is concerned that the longer he wears a mask to prevent infection with the new coronavirus, is also a factor in mouth breathing. If you are prone to mouth breathing due to heat or suffocation, keep a distance from people, remove the mask as appropriate, and be conscious of breathing through your nose.

Wearing a mask makes you less conscious of the eyes and reduces the chances of making facial expressions. "It is possible that the muscles around the mouth will weaken and mouth breathing will become chronic," Imai points out.

Muscle strength around the mouth weakens with age. If the tongue is lowered toward the lower jaw when the mouth is closed, it is a sign that the tongue is weak and it is easy to breathe through the mouth. "The correct position is that the tongue is sticky on the upper chin. For those who are down, improve by moving the tongue."

Tongue movement involves closing the mouth, placing the tongue between the lips and gums, and rubbing the surface of the teeth. At first, slowly 5 times on each side. As you get used to it, increase the number of times and speed up. It's a good idea to practice both improving and preventing mouth breathing when you wake up, before going to bed, and even when wearing a mask.


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