Nasal breathing is the physiological, natural breathing. This type of breathing has many advantages, including filtering, heating and humidifying the inhaled air. On the other hand, oral breathing is mainly responsible for ENT and pulmonary pathologies. In 80% of cases, the causes of oral breathing are related to lingual dysfunction.
When we breathe through our nose, the air we breathe in is filtered through our nostrils. It is the first barrier against allergens, bacteria, viruses, and particles. Sinuses are a place where nitrogen monoxide (NO) and antibodies are produced, agents designed to limit the risk of infections and microbial or allergic proliferation.
The nose therefore ensures physical and biological filtration.
Humidification and temperature control
It is essential that the inhaled air is properly humidified and warmed so that gas exchanges can take place optimally in the lungs. This is precisely one of the roles of nasal breathing. To do this, humidifying the air through the nose requires about a litre of water per day! This water comes from the water vapour from the expiration. This humidification of the air also makes it less easy to be dehydrated.
There are many blood vessels in the nostrils. These vessels, which carry blood at 37°C, heat the air inhaled. This warming of the air is accompanied by a cooling of the blood, by temperature exchange, to cool the brain, especially during and after physical exertion.
The nose therefore plays a role as an air conditioner for the body and as a protector of brain functions!
The physiological functions of the tongue promote nasal breathing. On the other hand, lingual dysfunctions, by reducing the tensions of the soft palate, make it difficult for air to pass through and promote oral or mixed breathing and the loss of the benefits of nasal breathing.
Optimization of gas exchanges in the lungs
Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas produced in large quantities in the sinuses. One of the properties of this gas is its “vasodilator” effect, i.e. it dilates the blood vessels. NO is transported with air into the respiratory tract and lungs. Its role is very important because it increases gas exchanges in the lungs, between the O2 entering the blood vessels and the CO2 that comes out and will then expire.
In addition, nasal resistance to airflow is on average 40% higher than oral resistance. It is related to the narrowness of the nasal passage but this increase in resistance is very beneficial to gas exchanges in the lungs. Indeed, this resistance lengthens the inhalation time, which gives the lungs more time to extract oxygen from the air.
Breathing through the nose may require an effort, but the consequences of such breathing largely justify this effort!
Lingual reeducation promotes nasal breathing.
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