Which is Better? Breathing Through the Nose or Mouth?

thinking child wondering it is better to breathe through nose or mouth

Have you noticed that humans have TWO doors for air to get into the body? Air can get into your body through the nose and the mouth. It’s great to have options! But is it better to be a nose-breather or mouth-breather? Let’s find out by comparing nose-breathing and mouth-breathing for kids.

Nose-breathing versus mouth-breathing

Our noses are actually meant to be the main path for air to get into our lungs.

Mouth-breathing is an important back-up plan, like when the nose is stuffy.

But it’s not the best long-term plan for your body’s health.

Benefits of breathing through the nose

Nose hairs filter out dust, dirt, pollen, and germs.

Thanks to mucus, the nose adds moisture to the air getting into the body.

Your fabulous nose also fine-tunes the temperature of the air so that it’s not too cold or hot.

This makes air much more comfortable for your airways and lungs.

Nose-breathing is better than mouth-breathing
child blowing nose and mouth-breathing due to runny boogers

Downsides of mouth-breathing

Sometimes, we have no choice but to breathe through the mouth, like when we’re battling a cold. But our mouths are meant to be closed unless we’re talking and eating! That’s why mouth-breathing for a long time can cause a few problems:

  • Chapped lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Stinky breath
  • Hoarse voice
  • Sore throat
  • Teeth cavities
  • Gum irritation

Any of these things can happen when the lips, mouth, and throat get dry and irritated.

Unfiltered air through the mouth might also trigger environmental allergies and asthma attacks.

How to help kids stop mouth-breathing

The key trick is to figure out what is blocking air from getting through the nose.

Sometimes it’s allergies to something in the environment.

Sometimes it’s the shape or position of the nose, tonsils, or other parts of the face.

The good news is that doctors can help. If you have questions about how to stop mouth-breathing, talk to your doctor!

More interesting facts about the human body

Human Body Learning Lab Hardcover Book

Updated on April 5, 2023 by Betty Choi, MD

Updated on April 5, 2023

by Betty Choi, MD