Current Trends in Otolaryngology and Rhinology (ISSN: 2689-7385)

review article

Understanding Nasal Breathing: The Key to Evaluating and Treating Sleep Disordered Breathing in Adults and Children

Peter Catalano, MD1*, John Walker, DMD2

1Department of Otolaryngology, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine Medical, MA, USA

2Department of Orthodontics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

*Corresponding author: Peter Catalano, MD, Department of Otolaryngology, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, 736 Cambridge Street, SMC-8, Brighton, MA 02134, USA. Tel:+16177796440; Fax: +16177895088; Email:

Received Date: 11 May, 2018; Accepted Date: 22 June, 2018; Published Date: 29 June, 2018

1.       Abstract

Nasal breathing is a basic and critical function that we rarely think much about, and most would be quite surprised to learn how important and influential it is in growth and development, and a healthy productive life. Fundamentally speaking, nasal breathing provides us with a sense of smell, enhances oxygen absorption by our lungs (via nitric oxide production from the sinuses [1]), warms and humidifies the air we breathe before it reaches the lower airway, and helps filter impurities from the air. However, it is also responsible for proper craniofacial development [2], tempero-mandibular joint function [3], head posture [4] and more. When nasal breathing does not occur for any reason, the body is forced into a series of compromises that prioritize getting oxygen into our blood at the expense of the functions provided by the nasal breathing. Because oxygen is required for survival, we are forced to live with a host of acquired health issues as a consequence of chronic or intermittent mouth breathing. One such consequence, known as Sleep Disordered Breathing [5] (SDB), is becoming pandemic in children, and directly affects their growth, development, intellect, academic performance, behavior, and much more. Let’s begin with a quick review of the causes of nasal obstruction.

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