Mouth Breathing During Cold Winter Nights

Mouth breathing can be unhealthy for you oral health. Learn all the ways to sleep comfortably in the winter and wake up with a moist mouth.

It has been a cold winter in Santa Fe as reflected in most of the country this year. Everyone’s heat is cranked up and this can affect your breathing at night. Whether you’re sick or not, even fighting viruses can cause nose breathing to turn into mouth breathing. If you’re mouth breathing during cold winter nights more than ever, you’re not alone. I’m sure it’s uncomfortable to wake up with a dry mouth and the bad breath that accompanies it.

As a hygienist, I notice patients in the winter with redder gums with an increase of inflammation and bleeding, even when the patient’s home care is unchanged without a visible increase in plaque.

Mouth breathing can be a reoccurring issue for some people but the symptoms can increase in the winter. There are many reasons for mouth breathing and it’s important to know what’s causing yours because it’s not the optimal way to breath. Nose breathing, while asleep, is how the body best takes in oxygen and converts it to nitric oxide without disturbing the oral mucosa, saliva, and bacteria balance, let alone the vehicle to deep belly breaths during the day for whole body health. There are many negative dental consequences to chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth which will be discussed in later blogs.

Tips for Healthy Breathing instead of Mouth Breathing During Cold Winter Nights

  • Humidify – Whenever there is heat in your house, even radiant, the environment becomes dry which can dry out your nasal passages. I always recommend ultrasonic cold air humidifiers; it’s crucial you never use warm air as it can breed bacteria. You should be able to buy a good one for as little as $40. If your bedroom door is shut, you’ll be amazed by the humidity contained in the room.
  • Moisturize your Nasal Cavity – I love Xlear and have been using it since it first came to market. Years ago my dad was having allergies in Florida and I recommended Xlear to him to relieve his scratchy throat, which was a stretch since my dad is very mainstream and at the time he had to go to a health food shop to find it. But he did, and he was blown away. Xlear is a xylitol and saline nasal spray which moisturizes by leaving a slippery film, and in my dad’s case, the film discourages allergens from attaching to the nasal cavity as well as dripping down the throat to soothe it. It doesn’t have a medicinal taste and it’ll last a long time through the night. You can start out your day with it as well.
  • Moisturize your Mouth – Xylitol products, once again, are very moisturizing. You can find xylitol toothpaste and mouth rinse which is great to use before you go to bed. Normally, I’m not a big fan of mouth rinses because they kill good bacteria as well as bad, especially alcohol rinses because they’re extremely drying, see my blog Ordinary Mouthwash is Bad for Bad Breath. Xylitol is an exception as it moisterizes while maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in your mouth. You may also want to try Xylimelts, xylitol tablets that attach to your cheek to stimulate saliva while you sleep.
  • Moisturize your Lips – Use natural lip balm products only with ingredients you can recognize such as beeswax and shea butter. Unfortunately, the popular brands such as Chapstick and Carmex are made of petroleum (mineral oil) which are actually drying. You will find with petroleum-based balms you are frequently reapplying them, however, the natural ones are much longer lasting and penetrate deeper into your lips.
  • Mouth Tape – Ultimately, taping your lips together is the best way to encourage nose breathing. It isn’t as bizarre as it seems as there are transparent tapes in the shape of lips with little breathing holes and gel. Even with mouth tape, It’s still important you impart moisture during winter nights.
  • Stay Hydrated – During the day, drink lots of water by taking small sips frequently throughout the entire day and continue throughout the evening. There are all kinds of products out there claiming to help with hydration and dry mouth but studies show nothing beats water intake. You should drink a minimum of half your weight in ounces, for example, if you weigh 150 lbs you should drink at least 75 ounces (a little over 9 glasses) of water per day. Depending on circumstances such as the heat outside and physical activity or exercise you need to increase your intake.
Click on image to purchase VicTsing Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

Winter is a challenging time to feel energized and when you breathe through your nose you will notice a huge difference in your energy level. Try these moisturizing tips and your mouth will wake up much more comfortable in the morning.

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Author: Cari

Cari has been a practicing dental hygienist for over 30 years. She received her degree with honors and was selected for a rare internship at Eastman Dental School, Rochester, NY. She then went on to receive a BS in Social Work from Nazareth College, cum laude. She has practiced in a variety of offices in Santa Fe for almost 25 years, with dental hygiene experience that has spanned from public health to holistic private practice, to specializing in dental phobic patients. Her commitment to research with a life-long desire to learn is combined with her genuine drive to provide patients with a whole health knowledge base. Cari also brings her experience as a published writer to her role as an oral health blogger. She has written blogs and web pages for Beyond Borders Dental in her role as Director of Dental Relations and Education.

2 thoughts on “Mouth Breathing During Cold Winter Nights”

  1. Wow, very informative about the mouth breathing during the winter season. My husband suffers from this issue. We did do all of the above remedies you mentioned and it helped considerably. I am so glad you posted this blog…good to know that its a real issue in the colder months. He thought perhaps he was the only one!
    Thanks Cari for informing us and for your research on the remedies!!!

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