I cannot remember when this admonition was indelibly printed into my psyche, but it was at a very young age and its wisdom has remained useful for all occasions. How many times have you thought “stop the world, I want to get off” when the pace of life gets so fast and furious you just can’t catch up?
We miss out and do not appreciate so many important events when we ignore such simple advice. My idea is that we all stop, look and listen to our breathing, the most important event in life from your first breath until the next. How you breathe determines your mental, physical, and emotional health. Breathe incorrectly and you are already in trouble and seriously damaging the finest health care system ever provided; your remarkable body- and if you stop, look and listen you will be overwhelmed by the brokenness of breathing right.
How many times do you breathe a minute? How long can you hold your breath after 2 deep breaths (no hyper ventilating – that is harmful!)? How long can you hold your breath after exhaling? Does your abdomen or chest rise and fall with breathing? Can you hear yourself or others breathing? Do you sleep with your mouth open? Do you breathe through your mouth at any time during the day? Is your normal head posture forward of your shoulders? How many paces can you walk while holding your breath and can your recover normal breathing within 4 breaths? Do you snore, sigh, sneeze or cough frequently? Do you know if you over breathe and what effect that will cause? Do you wake up with a dry mouth or wake up frequently to urinate? What would happen if you taped you mouth shut during the night?
Every answer to each question is vitally important if you are interested in how much oxygen is getting to your brain, the most fantastic computer ever designed. Your PC, I-pad or cell phone, amazing as they are, are simplistic toys compared to the human brain that is working non-stop for you 24/7. All it asks of you is to give it the proper balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide that keep its cells functioning in tip top condition. That can only happen if your mouth is closed and you breathe through your nose.
Our health care system has a breathing problem that has been overlooked by our high tech- pill cure medical system that has failed to teach their patients the first principle of life. I have an airway centered orthodontic practice where breathing problems are so easily recognized and can be referred to the appropriate medical specialists who can resolve the problem, but so often it is too late because the development of the mouth and face has been compromised by 7 – 12 years of improper breathing.
Parents, Pediatricians, Birthing Centers, Day Care Centers, Nursery School Staff, Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Coaches, all health care providers and Joe the Plumber need to know why we are not at peak health and what to do about it. I intentionally repeat myself by saying the Airway is the Highway to Health and Your Nose is the Onramp.
My profession, my specialty, Orthodontics by definition and default has always been concerned with the development of the jaws and face which depend on an adequate anatomical functioning airway during the night while sleeping. The benefits of sleep depend entirely on how well you breathe at night. Our most important service is correcting sleep disordered breathing so that orthodontic correction will be esthetically stable and functional until that final breath. If you have concerns regarding this information as it relates to children or adults please call (727) 822-3156 for a courtesy appointment and learn how we have helped many recover vibrant health and beautiful smiles.
Read The Breath of Life
John B. Harrison DDS, MSc