Mouth Breathing and Tooth Decay by Dr. Pramanik NamrataDr. Pramanik Namrata
People who sleep with their mouth open are more prone to dental caries. Saliva/spit coats the teeth to prevent dental decay. In mouth breathers, as they suffer from the dry mouth the protective action by saliva is decreased. The tooth starts to loose its minerals when ph drops below 5.5(ph is used to determine the acidity or basicity of water based solution like saliva)
Acid producing bacteria thrive in absence of saliva. Acids breakdown the teeth causing cavities and cause irritation in soft tissues. As saliva production decreases at night mouth breathers are at increased risk of dental cavities and gingival inflammation.
A number of reasons have been attributed to chronic mouth breathing like nasal congestion, sleep disorders, and a person’s anatomy, thus it is important to diagnose the underlying cause in mouth breathers to help in treatment. Emphasis on oral hygiene increases in such patients and brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing once a day helps in decreasing the cavities and gum inflammations that may occur.