March 27th, 2020
Our Wish for you...
We hope that you are doing well “sheltering in place” and creating social distance for your health and that of your family and friends. We also hope that you are finding valuable ways to use your time and that we all emerge from this global virus outbreak as better, wiser individuals and as a civilization.
Disease Prevention Basics
By now, you know the steps to reducing viral or bacterial infection: Wash your hands, sleep, exercise, avoid touching your face, avoid sugar.
What is often missed is Breathing Through Your Nose.
Being able to breathe easily through your nose is important for many aspects of health including disease prevention, which is so important right now.
There has been much concern about using surgical masks to inhibit the entry of viruses into our body’s. Certainly, a good idea if you are in an area of heightened potential exposure. On the other hand, our nose is there to filter particles, viruses, bacteria, mold, etc. on a constant basis, but we have to use it. We have always had a spectacular God-given filtration system in the middle of our faces. Our Nose! Breathing through your mouth reduces even a surgical mask’s efficiency, breathing through our nose improves mask efficiency.
Billions of Dollars
Tens of billions, if not over one hundred billion dollars are spent each year in the U.S. on antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays of all kinds, nasal surgery and so on, to allow us to breathe through our nose. Obviously, many people have difficultly breathing through their nose and breathe through their mouth more than they think
The Nose is Beautiful – No Matter How It is Shaped!
Every day I tell my patient’s that there is nothing biologically more important than breathing and the best breathing is through the nose. As far back as 1985 our practice has told patients that to achieve optimal jaw stability, that their lips should be together, teeth slightly apart, tongue resting on their palate and breathing through their nose. It is still true today.
Your Respiratory Defense System
The filtration system of our nose will significantly increase the intake of clean, fresh air into our lungs and reduce the likelihood of respiratory infection anytime – Covid-19 or any other. Note: nasal breathing does not guarantee that you won’t get an infection, but it does significantly reduce your chances.
Nasal breathing is your first line of defense against aerosol, airborne, respiratory infections; a surgical mask is necessary when you are:
1) exposed to greater numbers of microbes,
2) you are in closer proximity to sources of infection,
3) the microbes are more virulent (stronger) and/or
4) you are immune compromised.
#4 is the reason older individuals are at elevated risk, because they are more likely to have various other health issues.
In any case, improve your odds against getting any inhaled viral infection by breathing though your nose.
A Quick Nasal Tour
The hairs, cilia, mucous and turbinates filter particles, dust and microbes from the air.
The nose moistens and warms the air which prevents drying of the lungs. Drier lungs tend to be infected more easily.
Nitric oxide comes from the sinuses and into the nose with each inhalation; Nitric Oxide, the adenoids and tonsils each help to disinfect the air before it gets to your lungs.
Breathe for Relaxation – Good Anytime, Especially Now!
Breathing with the diaphragm and through the nose activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System, the “rest and digest” part of your nervous system. This part of the nervous system should be active most of the time, but most of us are in “fight or flight’ too much of the time.
So…Breathe…chilling out right now is a good thing!
We Can Help
When this virus outbreak has passed, if you have discovered that you can’t breathe through your nose as well as you’d like, Call Us. The TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Kansas has non-surgical programs which will help improve your nasal breathing and we work with trusted medical partners (Ear, Nose and Throat specialists) if further medical or surgical care is necessary.
Stay Well, Stay Calm and…Breathe Through Your Nose,
Dr. Joe Baba for the Doctors and Staff at the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Kansas