Most of us take it for granted the fact that we breathe through our noses and this is something that is natural and involuntary. However, when we fall ill due to cough or cold, we start breathing in through our mouth. And this is when we start wondering about breathing through our nose or our mouth and why they differ and what is the essential thing to do in such cases. Breathing through the nose is essential and it also helps maintain the optimum level of moisturized and humidified air in our body. The nose performs the task of moisturizing and humidifying the air that we breathe, and hence controls the humidity content in the air that we breathe. Further, the nose performs the task of purifying the air that we breathe. Our nasal regions have tiny hairs that remove the impurities from the air that we breathe. Often, the impurities are so small that they are microns or lesser in size.
When we breathe through our nose, the air that we breathe is mixed with an amazing gas that is found in our nasal sinuses, Nitric Oxide (NO). This gas is secreted into the nasal passages, and when the air that we breathe comes in contact with it, the resultant air that contains NO is useful for dilating our blood vessels and that results in the increase of carrying capacity of our blood vessels. The difference in mouth breathing and nasal breathing is that these capacities of nasal purification and humidification are absent when one breathes through the mouth. Once we start breathing through the mouth, the things like humidification and concentration of NO do not take place leading to significant health effects on our bodies.
When we are ill, we often breathe through the mouth. This increases the risk of infection further as the impurities in the air that we breathe are not blocked or weeded out by the nasal hairs or follicles. Hence, this becomes a loop where we breathe through our mouth because we are ill and we stay ill because we are breathing through our mouth. That’s why doctors try and provide us with medication that treats the nasal congestion first. It is often the case that decongestants are prescribed for clearing the nasal passages, so that we can start breathing through our nose again.
If you are suffering from sinusitis, the conditions described above may be familiar to you. Sinusitis results in the nasal packages getting blocked and this prevents the patients from breathing through the nose. It has been found by scientists in Sweden that humming might be an effective way to decongest your nasal passages when you have a sinus attack. Though this may seem frivolous, it can be tried by sinus patients as there are no side effects and if it helps the cause, it is much better. You can also take rhythmic chest breathing and other exercises that help you relieve the breathing issues that you may have and help you breathe through your mouth normally.