How You Can Tell You’re Mouth Breathing at Night

If you snore at night, it is likely a family member will tell you. If you breathe through your mouth at night, it’s less likely anyone will notice. But it is worth looking out for the signs that you are breathing through your mouth while you sleep. Mouth breathing can impact your oral and general health.

Signs You are a Mouth Breather

If no one sees you sleeping with your mouth open, there are a few signs to look out for in the morning that tell you that you’re sleeping with your mouth open. These include:

· Dry mouth

· Bad breath

· Dry throat

· Hoarse voice

· Wake up feeling tired and irritable

If you aren’t sure, you can ask your dentist or prosthodontist. There are often tell-tale signs when a patient sleeps with their mouth open.

Why Do Some People Breathe Through Their Mouth?

There are a few reasons why people mouth breathe. For some, it’s a bad habit they started at a young age and continued through to adulthood. For others, mouth breathing started in adulthood.

Blocked Nose

The body will do what it needs to be able to breathe easily. If you have a cold or suffer from allergies and your nose is blocked, your mouth will open to allow the air in. Nasal decongestants or allergy medications can help clear a blocked nose.

Sleep Apnoea

People who suffer from sleep apnoea struggle to breathe at night so their body tries to compensate by opening the mouth to get more oxygen in.

Why You Should Breathe Through Your Nose Not Your Mouth

There are multiple benefits to breathing through your nose rather than your mouth at night.

Nose can act as a filter

The tiny hairs inside our nose push particles to the back of the throat where they are coughed out or swallowed. The particles can’t make their way into the delicate lungs. If we’re breathing through our mouth, there’s nothing to filter the particles. The nose also warms the air so that it’s at body temperature by the time it reaches the lungs.


Breathing through your nose increases your lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen. Your nose produces nitric oxide which transports oxygen through the body.

Lack of saliva

Our mouths need saliva around the clock for good oral health. When you breathe through your mouth, it becomes dry. Saliva washes bacteria and dirt from your mouth and reduces your risk of bad breath, gingivitis, and tooth cavities.

Gum disease

The increase in bacteria in the mouth can lead to gum disease. Over time gum disease can result in receding gums and loose teeth.

What you Can Do to Stop Mouth Breathing at Night

Breathing through your mouth rather than your nose can be a difficult habit to break. Making sure conditions are right before going to bed can help.

Clear your nose

Make sure your nose is as clear as possible before retiring at night. Blow your nose, use a nasal spray or take an antihistamine if your GP has prescribed one.

Dust free

Make sure your environment is as clean as possible. A blocked nose can be caused by a build-up of dust or dust mites in the carpet and on curtains and furniture. Thoroughly clean the flat surfaces of your bedroom at least weekly.

Check your pillow

As well as making sure your pillow and pillowcase is clean, try altering the pillow height or propping your head up slightly.

See your GP

Ask your GP about any breathing problems you’re experiencing. They may refer you to an ear nose and throat specialist for further investigation.

For more information about receding gums, call (08) 9321 1632 or contact us online.