Nasal Airway Obstructions

May is Mouth Breathing Awareness Month, so this post is designed to bring awareness of the issues related to mouth breathing.

Starting in infancy, we should be nasal breathers. If you can’t breathe through your nose, your body will resort to the backup breathing method (mouth breathing) to keep you from dying. 

Remember, the airway trumps everything.

Nasal airway obstructions can be caused by a deviated septum, allergies, or tonsils, etc. When you resolve a nasal airway obstruction, you don’t necessarily restore normal muscle function and nasal breathing.

There was a study done in the 1980s, where a researcher had placed silicone plugs in the nostrils of monkeys. He noted “deviant muscle patterns” in the monkeys with the plugged nostrils. He also noticed that not all of the monkeys resumed nasal breathing when the plugs were removed.

I’ve included some of the photos from his research. Can you guess which monkey had the plugged nasal airway? Do you see any major differences in the facial structures related to “deviant muscle patterns”?

So, to reiterate, once a nasal airway obstruction is resolved, you might still need help correcting the dysfunctional muscle patterning associated with it.

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Harvold, E. P., et al, (1981). Primate experiments on oral respiration. American Journal of Orthodontics,79(4), 359-372. doi:10.1016/0002-9416(81)90379-1

Alyssa Stiles