Mouth breathing is when you breath through your mouth instead of your nose. Mouth breathing is not natural, and it can have some really bad affects on our health. Luckily we were formed with back up methods so our bodies would function even if the primary method (ie: breathing nasally) is broken. So if we have allergies or a cold, we breath through our mouth out of necessity. But what if the stuffy nose doesn't go away? We keep breathing through our mouth and it becomes a habit. We end up getting sick more often because of improper breathing, and create more sinus mucus which keeps our nose stuffy and perpetuates the cycle of mouth breathing...NOT GOOD!
Mouth breathing and having an open mouth posture allows the tongue to rest very low in the mouth. That's not a good thing. We want our tongue to rest fully on the palate. If the tongue is resting low in the mouth, it must push up and forward to swallow. This is called a tongue thrust. Mouth breathing and tongue thrusting go hand in hand. If you mouth breath, you also have a tongue thrust.
When we mouth breath, our tongue isn't doing it's job of holding our lower jaw up. Instead our jaw is hanging down and open causing strain on our adjacent muscles and jaw joint. This is a major factor in TMJ disorder and people who experience headaches, migraines, or neck and shoulder pain.
Where the tongue rests in the mouth is also really important to our overall facial appearance, growth, and development. Having good tongue posture helps our teeth come in straight and our faces appear full and defined instead of flat and long.
Mouth breathing is also linked to sleep breathing disorders like sleep apnea, ADD and ADHD, poor academic performance, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart health, gut health, brain degenerating diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia. It sounds like a harmless habit, but really mouth breathing could be the root cause of some serious illnesses.