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Mouth breathing
ICD-10 R06.5
ICD-9 784.9

Mouth breathing refers to the state of inhaling and exhaling through the mouth.

A healthy individual normally breathes through the nose while resting or doing light exercise, and breathes simultaneously through both the nose and mouth during vigorous aerobic exercise, in order to supply sufficient oxygen.

Excessive mouth breathing is problematic because air is not filtered and warmed as much as when inhaled through the nose, as it bypasses the nasal canal and paranasal sinuses, and dries out the mouth. Mouth breathing is often associated with congestion, obstruction, or other abnormalities of the upper respiratory tract. Mouth breathing is a diagnostic sign of adenoiditis especially with persistent rhinorrhea. Comorbidities include asthma, obesity, snoring, halitosis, and obstructive sleep apnea. Mouth breathing in children can be a cause of abnormal facial growth primarily in the upper and lower jaw shape, leading to Long Face Syndrome or other malocclusions[1].

Social perception

Mouth breathing in public is sometimes considered to be less socially acceptable or attractive than nose breathing, as mouth breathers can appear to have a somewhat "slack jawed" look, and mouth breathing can cause or exacerbate bad breath. Thus the term 'mouth breather' is used as an insult towards a person with a perceived lack of intelligence or someone with poor social skills.

See also


  1. ^ R.M. Rubin, Mode of respiration and facial growth, Am. J. Orthod. 78 (1980), pp. 504–510. [1]


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