Here's what happens if you're part of the reported 60% of Americans who don't nose-breathe at night: early in the night your throat and mouth muscles relax and you start using your mouth to breathe instead of your nasal passages. Now cold, un-filtered air hits the tender areas of your throat, causing an involuntary increase in adrenaline. You may start to grind your teeth. Your mouth dries out, preventing remineralization of your teeth and producing an environment for "bad" bacteria.
It gets more complicated though: mouth breathing bypasses a critical biological process: Nitric Oxide production. 25% of our nitric oxide is produced and released by our sinuses. So mouth-breathing all night robs us of a big chunk of the N.O. that we need.
Not getting enough Nitric Oxide is bad. It leads to:
And getting enough Nitric Oxide is good. It leads to:
Many dentists are proponents of nose-breathing. This allows the teeth to be constantly bathed in saliva which promotes remineralization and fights gingivitis and cavities. And the elevated pH makes your mouth less desirable for unhealthy bacteria.
Go on Amazon and buy a roll of 3M Transpore tape and try it out. If you're like most of my friends, you won't regret it.
Also, don't do anything dangerous, and this is not medical advice.