Doris M. Waite, R.D.H., Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist,
Registered Buteyko Breathing Educator
The Tongue and Lung Lady


How important is nose breathing?  Here's a list to help you understand why we have a nose at all!

1. warms the incoming air to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the optimal temperature for lungs.

2. humidifies the incoming air - up to 1 litre more than mouth breathing. Humidity supports tiny microscopic hairs (cilia) which beat in unison to move sticky mucus and debris out of the lungs. Without total humidity, cilia don't work. Debris is trapped, forcing a cough which causes damage to the lungs.

3. filters the air during inhalation via the nose hairs.

4. keeps the environment free from stagnating debris.

5. triggers the release of antibacterial molecules helping to clean the incoming air and increase the functioning of the immune system.

6. stimulates the release of odiferous molecules, so that we can smell the quality of air.

7. provides extra resistance and dead space which is important in the regulation of breathing, as are the air flow sensors in the nose. Mouth breathing promotes hyperventilation.

8. is extremely important in oral health. Mouth breathing causes a drying out of the gums, increases the acidity in the mouth promoting both cavities and gum disease.

9. allows the tongue and lips to properly form the natural arch around the mouth, thereby preventing jaw malformation and dental crowding.

10. improves the aesthetics of the entire face as the jaw forms in a healthy way.

11. helps children to form sinuses by activating their growth with the movement of air.

12. Mouthbreathers often have very narrow faces. The sinuses start growing at age 4.

13. lightens the head by filling sinuses with air, lubricates sinus membranes, lessening the chance of sinus infection.

14. reduces snoring.

15. reduces anxiety.

16. makes it easy to breathe less than when mouth breathing. Therefore you also breathe fewer allergens which trigger less of a reaction.

17. reduces swelling and congestion of nose tissues and other airways.

18. increases sense of smell, linking it to the limbic system, the seat of emotions making us more aware of our emotions; also an important environmental factor for survival.

19. brings air into sphenoid sinuses to cool pituitary gland and regulate temperature.

20. keeps the nasal passages open.

21. supports the pituitary gland in regulating sleeping patterns.

22. activates movement at several head and neck joints.

23. moves the air along the nasal septum, slowing movement of air and facilitating a more complete integration of ventilation process with other biological processes.

24. allows excess tears to have a clear passageway for drainage.

25. facilitates the production of nitric oxide, which is a bronchodilator.

26. reduces the volume of CO2 released during exhalation. Sinuses trap CO2. CO2 dilates airways and blood vessels and facilitates the release and delivery of oxygen.

27. allows air to pass structures that mark the head center, keeping you balanced.

28. facilitates a deep meditation.

29. activates the production of immunoglobulins to strengthen the immune system.

30. helps increase the fluctuations of the cerebral spinal fluid by activation and movement of the sphenobasilar joint thereby nourishing the central nervous system.

31. prevents survival of viruses via the mucus membrane which sterilizes the air that enters your body, creating a shield against disease.

32. paranasal sinuses produce nitric oxide, a powerful sterilizing agent which kills bacteria and dilates bronchial tubes.

33. has very sensitive nerve endings at hair roots, which warn about unhealthy particles in the air.

34. turbinates (concha nasalis) cause air to centrifuge any particles inhaled which then stick to the mucous membrane, preventing it from being sucked into the lungs.

35. reduces the rapid loss of Carbon Dioxide which is needed to release oxygen from the blood to the brain, organs, muscles and cells (Bohr Effect)