Nose Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing - Which is Better? –


Nose Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing


Nose Breathing is Optimal. How and Why?

  • How to increase and maintain it during waking and sleep?
  • How to improve nose breathing?
  • How to practice nose breathing?


The professionals have spoken, and the research is clear, nose breathing is the correct and most optimal way to breathe.

Not only are our bodies designed for nose breathing based on the specific apparatus and the mechanisms by which we inhale and exhale through nose breathing, but there are numerous health benefits to be had from correct, consistent nose breathing.

The converse is also true; because mouth breathing bypasses important stages in the breathing process, this way of breathing leads to many health problems, not the least of which may include snoring and sleep apnea.

Mouth breathing such as with pursed lips breathing is for emergencies.


Why Nose Breathing is Better


Nose breathing T2R38 gene that stimulates the nose's bitter receptors that react to chemicals that bacteria use to communicate. They stimulate nitric oxide that kills bacteria. Simple taste tests may eventually predict recurrent infection potential.

Scientific American Sept 2014 Page 28


"Nasal breathing  (as opposed to mouth breathing)  increases circulation, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, slows the breathing rate and improves overall lung volumes "

Swift, Campbell, McKown  1988 Oronasal obstruction, lung volumes, and arterial oxygenation. Lancet 1, 73-75


"The internal nose not only provides around 90% of he respiratory system air-conditioning requirement but also recovers around 33% of exhaled heat and moisture."

Elad, Wolf, Keck 2008 Air-conditioning in the human nasal cavity. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology 163. 121-127


"The nasal cycle, which is part of an overall body cycle, is controlled by the hypothalamus. Sympathetic dominance on one side causes nasal vasoconstriction of the ipsilateral turbinate, while parasympathetic dominance on the other causes nasal vasoconstriction of the contralateral turbinate. Increased airflow through the right nostrii is correlated to increased left brain activity and enhanced verbal performance, where as increased airflow through the left nostril is associated with increased right brain activity and enhanced spatial performance." 

Shannahoff-Kalsa, 1993. The ultradian rhythm of alternating cerebral hemispheric activity. International Journal of Neuroscience  70, 285-298


"During exercise, nasal breathing causes a reduction in FEO2, indicating that on expiration the percentage of oxygen extracted from the air by the lungs is increased and an increase in FECO2, indicating an increase in the percentage of expired air that is carbon dioxide".

Morton, King, Papalia 1995 Comparison of maximal oxygen consumption with oral and nasal breathing. Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 27, 51-55|


Pursed Lips Breathing


This FEO2 factor is as well related to purse lips breathing which is an emergency measure and not the proper way to breathe. It can in emergency situations help slow down the breathing cycle to allow proper CO2 buildup and better O2 uptake but will over time weaken the diaphragm by transferring the strength to hold back breathing via the mouth instead of the diaphragm.

One of the most revealing and actually scary facts is that the nose is home to over 50 bacterial species (some are good, most are not).

But the good ones can kill some of the bad ones and if we bypass the nose breath, the bad ones tend to dominate.

One of the bad guys, Staphylococcus Aureus infections may cause disease due to direct infection or due to the production of toxins by the bacteria. Aureas, one of the hospital-acquired staph infections that include the blood and heart is present in 30% of the population, possibly hospital employees.

So then why do the patients not get masks to be protected from whomever?

That said, breathing through the nose has many benefits.

Breathing through the mouth, many negatives.

There are some researchers who believe that mouth breathing and associated hyperventilation causes or exacerbates asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other medical problems. It makes some folks look dull-witted or slightly unconscious.

Chronic mouth breathing may cause the muscles that open the sidewalls of the nose to weaken.


  • Close to 80 percent of the Western population breathes incorrectly with habits such as shallow breathing, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, using the upper chest, and having noticeable breathing during rest.


  • Your nose is the only organ able to properly prepare the air you breathe; mouth breathing leads to over-breathing, chronic hyperventilation, depleted carbon dioxide levels, reduced blood circulation, the buildup of toxins and narrowing of the airways.


  • Mouth breathing and resultant over-breathing elevates your blood pressure and heart rate and worsens asthma, allergies, rhinitis, sleep apnea, and deprives your heart, brain and other organs of optimal oxygenation


  • Overbreathing and hyperventilation during exercise can lead to reduced performance, and can also cause vasoconstriction, which increases your risk for arrhythmias and heart problems, even if you have none of the usual cardiac risk factors



Nose Breathing 24 Hours a Day


Always better whenever possible; deviated septum and small nostrils may make it impractical but still nose breathing 24 hours a day is extremely important for those who desire the longest and most healthy life.

The Optimal Breathing Kit shows you how to maximize nose breathing. HINT; It is not just about your nose or mouth.

  • The lungs are a primary source of our energy level. They extract oxygen from the air we breathe primarily on the exhale. Because the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates back pressure when one exhales.

It slows the air escape so the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from them. When there is proper oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange, the blood will maintain a balanced pH. If carbon dioxide is lost too quickly, as in mouth breathing, oxygen absorption is decreased.


  • Afferent stimuli from the nerves that regulate breathing are in the nasal passages. The inhaled air passing through the nasal mucosa carries the stimuli to the reflex nerves that control breathing.  Mouth breathing bypasses the nasal mucosa and makes regular breathing difficult.  

During sleep, it predisposes one to loud snoring and irregular breathing and can lead to a serious condition called Sleep apnea and heart conditions.


  • Also, when mouth breathing, the brain thinks carbon dioxide is being lost too quickly and sensing this, will stimulate the goblet cells to produce mucus, slow the breathing and cause constriction of blood vessels.

Breathing through the nose also limits air intake and forces one to SLOW down. Proper nose breathing reduces hypertension and stress for most people. Kind of like a speed control (governor) on a car engine.


  • The nostrils and sinuses filter and warm the air going into the lungs. The mouth breather bypasses this. The sinuses produce nitric oxide (NO) which is a pollutant but harmful to bacteria in small doses.

Nitric (not nitrous) oxide is one of the very important chemical parts of sexual arousal. It vaso-dilates (engorgement) and plays a part in maintaining the erection.


  • Each nostril is innervated by five cranial nerves from a different side of the brain. Each nostril functions independently and synergistically in filtering, warming, moisturizing, dehumidifying, and smelling the air.


  • Maintaining a keen sense of smell is very important for enjoying life and for safety and social acceptance.  

Think of all the beautiful smells we enjoy with our nose. Smell influences our behavior, our memories, and many autonomic nervous system functions which are below the level of conscious awareness.

This is because the receptors in the nose, known as olfactory bulbs, are direct extensions of a part of the brain known as  the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus, also known as the Brain's brain, is responsible for many functions in our bodies, particularly those that we consider automatic: heartbeat, blood pressure, thirst, appetite, and of course, the cycles of sleeping a waking. The hypothalamus is also responsible for generating chemicals that influence memory and emotion. 


  • Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, the new medical description for what most of us call snoring, is a problem for about 90 million Americans every day.

Socially unacceptable snoring occurs when other people complain about the noise. They are irritated by the snoring noise because they were unable to sleep well in the same room and in some cases the same building.  

Snoring is a major social problem. It can also lead to major medical problems if snoring and mouth breathing combine to cause irregular breathing during sleep. Think sleep apnea.


  • What you do during waking hours carries over into sleep. Any opportunity for mouth breathing inhaling or exhaling will increase the chances of mouth breathing during waking and sleep. Hospital studies have established that nocturnal mouth breathing is a primary cause of loud snoring.

Snoring is a precursor to sleep apnea and apnea a precursor to low cellular oxygen, almost any illness including heart attacks and death in one's sleep. 


  • Nose breathing imposes approximately 50 percent more resistance to the air stream in normal individuals than does mouth breathing, resulting in 10-20 percent more O2 uptake.

(Cottle, 1972: Rohrer, 1915)  There must be adequate nasal resistance to maintain adequate elasticity of the lungs. (Cottle 1980)


  • Breathing through the mouth with the nose obstructed usually imposes too little resistance and can lead to micro-areas of poor ventilation in the lungs (Atelectasis).  

Many years of breathing against excessive resistance as with nasal obstruction, may cause micro areas of poor ventilation (emphysema).  Barelli (Behavioral and Psychological Approaches to Breathing Disorders.p.50 ). 

Mouth breathing can produce an anterior open bite, a longer face, and some suggest that because of poor sleep quality produces a baggy appearance under the eyes. Mouth breathing also accelerates water loss increasing possible dehydration.

  • Body temperature may be influenced by the temperature of expired air (Scott, 1954; Weiner, 1954)


  • Work of lung movement doubled when nose breathing, creating mild but healthy resistance.


  • Chin-Up Strips (free samples included in all  Breathing Mastery Kits are safe, inexpensive and easy to use.  In fact, if you mouth breathe during waking hours you can bet you will mouth breathe while sleeping:


  • You can use them during the exercises in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit AS WELL AS DURING SLEEP. "I am convinced improved breathing through the nasal mucosa 24/7 is a key to a long and healthy life. A life filled with energy and a great disposition which will help maintain and strengthen the relationships one needs for emotional and physical wellness."  Dale D. Miller, JD & CEO 
  1. Training yourself to nose breathe while awake guides the way you breathe while sleeping.
  2. COLDS and Flu
    The lessening of the common cold is another good reason for nose breathing. The mucous (white blood cells that kill germs) membrane lining the nose extends all the way from the inner linings of the nostrils down the trachea to the bronchi the directly enters the lungs. Germs get caught and die in the mucus.
  3. SINUS blockage and difficulty nose breathing.
  4. What would make spinal fluid leak out of your nose? Dr. Hanson: In patients who’ve had a head injury, their dura, which is the leathery material that surrounds the brain and encloses it, can tear and they can have cerebral spinal fluid leaking through the dura into the nose. They can also have the same problem after sinus surgery. In both cases, there’s a potential for bacteria to get into the lining of the brain, which is obviously a bad thing.
  5. Depleted emergency reserves too often defeat the purpose of running to lose weight
  6. Open your nostrils. How to?
  7. Conditions worsened by mouth breathing

COLDS AND THE FLU: See the top ten immune system builders at the bottom of ALL shopping carts. Start with this product then click add to cart for the list


POST NASAL DRIP:  Get Sinu Clenz

ALLERGIES:  Get Sinu Clenz, Quercetin and BHLN

SINUS HEADACHES:   Get Sinu Clenz, Quercetin and BHLN

BAD BREATH: Cleanse your colon   Get Sinu Clenz

POOR DIGESTION  Optimal Digestion

EYE AND EAR PROBLEMS:   Get Sinu Clenz   Cleanse your small and large intestine

DEVIATED SEPTUM:  Surgery often reverts back to original shape. Focus on breathing development before considering surgery seriously.

"People with chronic sinus conditions should use a sinus rinse daily as it promotes drainage of the sinuses and speeds healing of inflamed tissues... "Self-Healing"  Dr. Andrew Weil M.D.


19. SEX. You can't kiss someone and breathe through your mouth.

20. Dietary or bad air? Building Healthy Lungs Naturally included in the Mastery Kit

21. Empty  Nose Syndrome Important to note that on several occasions I have worked on a person's breathing who had had stuffed up nasal passage for decades and their nostrils and sinuses opened up right then and there. Makes me wonder how many fewer surgeries and dry upper respiratory tracts might have had much different results had the MDs suggested to develop the breathing first. Include upper airway resistance syndrome.

Nose Surgery

The traditional approach is to use a scalpel to cut cartilage inside the nose and reshape it manually. The surgical wounds have to be closed with stitches. This method is costly, and the patient may need to take time off work during their recovery and it the septum often reverts back to where it was.

In this study, researchers at Moscow State University used the laser procedure on 110 people between the ages of 11 and 66, and followed their results for an average of 18 months.

The study found that 84 (76 percent) of the people treated with the laser had a "reduction of symptoms" (Mike wonders how much reduction?) associated with nasal blockages. In 27 (24 percent) of the people, the nasal abnormalities returned to their original shape. I bet many of the others were not as successful as the article implies.  

I strongly suggest going the natural route FIRST. There is a strong possibility you can open your nasal passages without surgery.

22. Dumb and Dumber? You may have fewer opportunities for sex if you mouth breathe because mouth breathing makes you look dense, dull or downright stupid.

Optimal Breathing Mastery to reduce any anxiety, adrenaline, histamine reactions that swell up the membranes.

Related Articles

Oral breathing increases pH and vocal effort by superficial drying of vocal fold mucosa.

Sivasankar M, Fisher KV.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.

Oral breathing superficially dehydrates the airway lumen by decreasing the depth of the sol layer in humans and animals. Conversely, nasal breathing can increase the humidity of inspired air. We compared the effects of short-term oral and nasal breathing on Pth and perceived vocal effort in 20 female subjects randomly assigned to two groups: oral breathing (N = 10, age 21-32 years); nasal breathing (N = 10, age 20-36 years). We hypothesized that short-term oral breathing, but not nasal breathing, would increase Pth, and that subjects would perceive this change as an increase in vocal effort. Following 15 minutes of oral breathing, Pth increased at comfortable and low pitch (p < 0.01) with 6 of 10 subjects reporting increased vocal effort. Nasal breathing reduced Pth at all three pitches (p < 0.01), and 7 of 10 subjects reported decreased vocal effort. Over all subjects, 49% of the variance in treatment-induced change in Pth was accounted for by change in vocal effort (R = 0.70). We posit that obligatory oral breathing places healthy subjects at risk for symptoms of increased vocal effort. The facilitatory role of superficial hydration on vocal fold oscillation should be considered in biomechanical models of phonation and in the clinical prevention of laryngeal dryness. See smelling to diagnose infection and disease 

Diet and nose breathing

Hey Mike, I just read
some of your subscribers questions and noticed one about having narrow nasal passages. The guy was considering surgery. As relates to that problem, I have noticed that when I shift to diaphragm breathing and progress to where my intestines are pushed all the way down and simultaneously my chest is expanded, all of a sudden there is a physiological shift in my neck and jaw and my sinuses and nostrils pop fully open.

It is a wonderful feeling of totality, and it is sustainable if I keep breathing in this way.  At this stage of my development, it takes a very conscious and persistent effort to get to this place, but I am looking forward to the day when it is my normal modus operandi.

I just thought that subscriber might benefit from hearing this before diving under the surgeon's knife. Thanks, and keep up the quest.

Dan T

From Mike: You are getting short term benefits with long term dangers called breathing pattern disorder/UDB by taking the musculature out of balance and distorting the breathing wave. When we breathe in through the nose we produce nitric oxide. This nitric oxide works as a vaso dilator.  Mouth breathing bypasses this NO2 production. Without NO2 our breathing chemistry is compromised causing a lessening (vaso constriction) in our airways, arteries and capillaries. This reduces oxygenation to the cells. Their are as yet no studies on the outcome of this but the implications  are huge.  For example, infants and children with food allergies from dairy, grains, chocolate etc get their little nostrils stuffed up and that forces them to breathe through their mouths. This most likely reduces oxygen uptake to their developing brains and bodies. In addition, I often read about increases in snoring amongst children.  Mouth breathing during waking and sleeping hours is a contributor to snoring. Gradually, muscle tissues in the mouth and throat are stretched beyond their intended range. When this happens, snoring and the health risks associated with OSA increase. Snoring stems largely from collapsed or constricted breathing passages.  So does sleep apnea.  

I read where a professor of psychology who was greatly interested in breathing had a graduate student sit in a medical doctor’s office and asked them to watch breathing patterns in the waiting room patients. The student noticed that something approximately 84 percent of the people in the waiting room had disturbed breathing patterns indicative of correlations with what I now call Undetected Dysfunctional Breathing or UDB.  Regardless of their medical problem, they seemed to have disturbed breathing.  Though some leading edge MDs are beginning to notice poor breathing probably none of those people 15 years ago were going to go to the MD and have something done about their breathing. 

Several colleagues have pointed out that most children have developed poor breathing by age 11. I lost mine TWICE by age 12.  This may be a stretch for some of you but I believe that this widespread loss stems from bad as well as well meaning sources. Bad would be stress, poor nutrition, abuse, trauma and little to no exercise.  Well meaning could be social conditioning (also potentially very stressful) and cultural mores such as preparation for "proper" social conduct. Politeness and reserve can be overdone. Add taboo and unwarranted fears causing chronic hesitancy and or inhibition when too often repeated will habitually become engrained in the tissues and cause chronic restrictions in the way one breathes.


Mike, I came across your page and it feeds right into what I am doing.

I teach the 5 Tibetan Rites (as detailed in "Fountain of Youth" by Kelder). A question arose as to the proper breathing.

The book says breathe in through the nose, breathe out through the mouth. This feels right to me. But I then read in some esoteric yoga books from India that you always breathe in and out through the nose.

From Mike;

There are so many people that do not study the breath, pass themselves as experts and teach harmful practices.  Exhaling through the mouth is very bad information.

We uptake most of our oxygen during the exhale. The size of the nostrils creates back-pressure that holds air in a little longer so that the O2 has more time to be extracted from the air in the lungs.

The more you can function by breathing in and out through the nose the better except when singing or extreme states of fight, fight, freeze, faking it or fun. including sex). Then you will need to take in a lot of air and need both nose and mouth. Watch high level athletes closely and you will see they nose breathe as often as possible.

If you inherited your very large father’s lungs and your very small mother’s nostrils you will have to breathe in AND out through the mouth more often. This is an extreme and rare example but it illustrates better the issue of volume combined with air intake nostril size.  Perhaps surgery can remedy that. Seek several opinions.

The number of above options are often overwhelming. The issue with all is which is more important to the individual NOW, in real time?

The simple truth is that breathing through the mouth is a sure way to impede proper breathing and develop all kinds of health problems. However, these bad habits can be reversed by working with our Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit to learn how to do proper and effective nose breathing which can very well extend or even save your life. 

Another dental approach  THE Apnea-surgical   Apnea neurological    Apnea Hypertension   Apnea Digeridoo   Apnea Youth F Chemistry    Apnea Mechanical    Nose Breathing    Apnea and Oxygen  Apnea Herbal Relief   Apn the Non Disea   Apnea Quiz   Sleeping Snoring Strokes  


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