Should You Breathe Through Your Mouth or Your Nose?

A pulmonary medicine specialist explains
woman mouth and nose up close

Q: Should you breathe through your mouth or your nose?

A: We are designed to breathe through our noses from birth — it’s the way humans have evolved. Unless you have an obstruction (like a deviated septum or chronic rhinitis), both your nasal passageways will warm, humidify, filter and direct airflow down into your lungs.

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You can overcome resistance to this flow by mouth-breathing. But that cancels many of the benefits the nose affords. For example, winter runners who breathe deeply through their noses get warmed, filtered air without sending a chill to their lungs.

Ever wake up after a restless night’s sleep with dry mouth or sore throat? Chances are, you’re fighting nature by mouth-breathing.

— Pulmonary medicine specialist Jason Turowski, MD

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More information
7 Surprising Facts About Your Nose
Trouble Breathing? How Doctors Can Uncover Hidden Disease in Your Lungs
How to  Tell if Your Sore Throat Needs a Doc Visit
Cold Can Spell Trouble for Your Heart and Lungs

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