Alpers Breath Correction Programme – ABC

Alpers Dental Breath Correction Programme – ABC

Many people don’t realise that there is a difference between mouth breathing and nose breathing, and how breathing through your mouth can actually be detrimental to your overall. Over the last 40 years, more and more children are becoming chronic or habitual mouth breathers.

For the next available course dates in Auckland, please contact reception on (09) 524-5056

The Proper Function of the Tongue and Mouth

Proper mouth function and development starts at the beginning when a newborn uses the thrust of the tongue to get mother’s milk. This seemingly simple action actually helps shape the horizontal or forward growth of the upper jaw. When the tongue rests properly against the roof of the mouth, it pushes back against the muscles and structures forming and shaping the upper jaw (palate) around the tongue. It is physiologically impossible to breathe through the mouth and for the tongue to rest against the roof of the mouth. So, when children continually mouth-breathe, which drops the tongue from the roof of the mouth, the shape and growth of the mouth is affected. The problem leads to a whole host of other bodily malfunctions that require adequate oxygen supply to work properly. Children who mouth breathe all hyperventilate. It was Russian physician and medical researcher Dr. Konstantin Buteyko’s discovery that many common illnesses and conditions are due to overbreathing (hyperventilation). Mouth-breathing children will inhale/exhale about every three seconds; while nose breathing children will inhale/exhale about every six seconds.

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What causes mouth breathing?

The main cause is nasal blockage due to allergies or respiratory infections. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids and thumb- or finger-sucking are all contributors. When a child can’t breathe through his/her nose, they have to breathe through the mouth and that brings the tongue down off the roof of the mouth. It only takes children a few days of chronic mouth breathing (such as during a cold or prolonged respiratory illness) for the habit to overtake natural nose breathing. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can partially block the upper airway so that the child has to open his/her mouth to breathe, and thumb- and finger-sucking habits also draw the tongue off the roof of the mouth and the palate becomes finger or thumb shaped, wider or deeper than the natural tongue shape.

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Effects of mouth breathing on overall health

“Using the mouth for breathing disrupts our natural body mechanics. It can affect a number of bodily functions and lead to symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Gingivitis and gum disease
  • Sore throat and cold symptoms
  • Bad breath and higher risk for cavities
  • Poor sleep – leading to chronic fatigue
  • Digestive disturbances – gas, upset stomach, acid reflux


In addition, when a child breathes through his/her mouth, their head will pitch or tilt backward, which pushes the heavier parts of the head toward the back of the skull and this can affect overall body posture and spinal health. The weight of the head is supposed to be centred on the spine not pushed back forcing the body to compromise by jutting forward.

Oxygen deprivation is a huge part of how mouth breathing affects everything else a child does.

Nose breathing provides our bodies with humidified, filtered air, and keeps oxygen and carbon dioxide levels balanced. This balance is upset with mouth breathing prompting the body to respond in anti-inflammatory ways, resulting in overproduction of mucus in the nose and throat. Over a lifetime, mouth breathing can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, sleep apnoea and other medical issues because of poor oxygen concentration in the bloodstream.

Children who breathe through their mouths do not sleep well, so they’re tired during the day, irritable and have difficulty concentrating on and understanding class work. This difficulty translates into acting out behaviourally — the kind of behaviour commonly attributed to ADD and ADHD.

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Effects of mouth breathing on dental health and development

Mouth breathing children are often affected by:

  • Long, narrow faces and mouths
  • Less defined cheek  bones
  • Small lower jaws
  • Weak chins
  • Gingivitis and gum disease
  • Sore throat and cold symptoms
  • Bad breath and higher risk for cavities
  • Gummy smiles
  • Dental crowding

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How can mouth breathing be corrected?

For children who mouth breathe due to allergies, treatment needs to begin by determining what the allergy is and eliminating it from the environment. This allergy may be to something airborne or in food.

For children without allergies, treatment focuses on breaking the mouth-breathing pattern and, if caught early enough, to help guide the development of the mouth, teeth and tongue, into their optimal position and shape. The first goal of treatment is to reduce hyperventilation in these children that will have a huge impact on everything else.

Alpers Dental has had a long and valued association with Glenn White from Buteyko Breathing Clinics in Auckland so that we can provide retraining of habitual mouth-breathers. For patients with severe symptoms related to hyperventilation we recommend the full Buteyko Breathing programme with Glenn White.

Russian physician and medical researcher Dr. Konstantin Buteyko spent 50 years perfecting methods to attain healthy breathing habits to counter the effects of hyperventilation that results in constriction of the blood vessels and airways causing the feeling of breathlessness, which is an asthmatics experience, and can cause other respiratory-related illness in the long term.

If you experience any of the symptoms you would benefit from attending a Breath Correction programme:

  • Breathlessness
  • Sneezing
  • Excess mucous leading to coughing, nasal congestion or sinus infection
  • Coughing
  • Sighing or excessive yawning
  • Poor concentration
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Bed wetting
  • Teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism)
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Sweaty Palms

Programme Outline

The ABC programme is designed to retrain your breathing patterns and it also will improve overall health, which can manage illnesses for a lifetime for less money than you would continue to spend on medications to help handle symptoms. Contact Alpers Dental in Epsom, AK at  (09) 524-5056 to learn more. 

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CALL US ON (09) 524 5056

Alpers Breath Correction Programme – ABC January 5, 2015