Is there a Link Between Mouth Breathing and Tooth Decay?
Getting a healthy amount of sleep has always been understood to play a vital role in your overall health. However, a new study has revealed one way of sleeping may be detrimental to your oral health. As it turns out, your drool covered pillowcases aren’t the only casualties for those who are prone to mouth breathing while sleeping. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Otago, breathing with your mouth while you sleep causes a more acidic oral environment that can lead to cavities and erosion of the enamel.
This study, published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, measured the average pH levels of 10 volunteers who alternated sleeping with their mouths open and with their mouths closed. This was accomplished by simply sleeping with a nose clip every other night to force the volunteers to breath out of their mouths on those nights. On average the mouth breathers had an average acidic environment measured at a pH of 6.6 versus the neutral 7.0 found with the nose breathers.
The pH levels in both the mouth breathing nights and nose breathing nights decreased slowly during sleeping hours, but fell more sharply and for longer periods of time with those who were breathing with their mouth. The pH levels of the mouth breathers even fell to as low as 3.6 during sleep which is quite a bit lower than 5.5 which is the threshold at which enamel begins to demineralize.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/12/2016) Stanley Wood(Flickr)