There are a number of reasons why breathing through the nose is more beneficial for your health as opposed to breathing through the mouth. Breathing through the nose helps to reduce exposure to foreign substances. It also humidifies and warms inhaled air. Moreover, a study reported in the Lancet showed that breathing through the nose improves lung capacity, functional residual capacity and residual volume.
The study used 3 groups people. The first group had partially blocked noses who had been admitted for surgical relief of chronic nasal obstruction. Eleven underwent polypectomy. Eleven had septal surgery. And five had submucous diathermy to the inferior turbinates. The second group had vaseline packed gauze placed in the nose. And the third group had interdental wiring where the teeth were wired together to keep the mouth closed.
Results of the Study
In the 27 patients who underwent nasal surgery with partially blocked noses, the Total Lung Capacity (TLC) decreased by 8%. The functional residual capacity (FRC) decreased by 13%. And the residual volume (RV) decreased by 26%.
Whereas, in the 7 patients who underwent overnight nasal packing, the study showed a decrease in TLC of 6% FRC of 13%, and RV of 28%.
And in the 9 patient’s who underwent interdental wiring, the study showed that it led to an increase in TLC of 5%, an increase of FRC of 11%, and an increase of RV of 23%.
It is sometimes assumed that functional residual capacity (FRC) increases with increasing severity of nasal obstruction. And residual volume (RV) falls after nasal septal surgery in both adults and children.
As a result of the study, we can conclude that breathing through the nose as opposed to the mouth increases total lung capacity. It also increases functional residual capacity and residual volume. Complete exclusion of the nose from the breathing route was associated with a decrease in lung volume. Whereas, a relative increase in nasal resistance led to an increase in lung volumes.
The implication is that in addition to warming, humidifying, and filtering the inspired air the nose has a role in maintaining FRC. Therefore, the action may indirectly, affect arterial oxygen saturation or increase air flow to arteries, veins, and nerves and increase oxygen uptake and circulation.
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