A study linked mouth breathing during sleep with a more acidic oral environment for tooth decay. In order to measure whether mouth breathing affects intraoral pH levels, researchers studied a group of ten healthy volunteers who alternated between sleeping with and without a nose clip, which forced them to breathe through the mouth. Over a period of four days, the pH and temperature incisors was measured.
The researchers found a significant difference in the pattern of variation of pH and temperature between day and night. “The intraoral pH decreased slowly during the hours of sleep on all participants, but more and for a longer period of time when participants had to breathe through their mouth,” said Joanne Choi, lead author of the study.
The average pH during sleep with forced mouth breathing was 6.6, slightly acidic, compared with a pH of 7 in the nose. Choi stressed that pH levels sometimes fell to 3.6 during forced mouth breathing during sleep. “Our findings support the idea that mouth breathing can in fact be a factor of tooth decay” she said.
According to Choi, this is the first study that continuously monitors changes intraoral pH in healthy individuals for several days. A pH level lower than 5.5 in the mouth is already considered to dental caries. Acidic conditions in the mouth generally promote the growth of acidophilic bacteria and therefore the formation of harmful biofilms in the mouth. The study, entitled “Intraoral pH and temperature during sleep with and without mouth breathing” was published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation.
The acidic conditions in your mouth can also change rapidly with the foods you eat so is really important to keep a good dental hygene and avoid sugary drinks that proliferates bacteria. Make sure to get a dental cleaning when you come to Cancun to get rid of the tartar between your teeth and prevent cavities.