Did you know that the number one cause of mouth breathing is a blocked nose? It probably doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, we know that when our nose is blocked, it forces our bodies to change course and start breathing through the mouth. There are lots of things that can cause nasal blockages but today we’re going to take a look at the turbinates. Turba-what-now?….
WHAT ARE TURBINATES?
Turbinates are made of bone and soft tissue and are located inside the nose near the septum. They are small structures inside the nose that cleanse and humidify air that passess through the nostrils. More specifically, they help to warm and moisturise air as it flows through the nose. There are three turbinates in each nostril:
HOW DO THEY AFFECT AIRFLOW?
Do they all cause havoc with breathing? Great question! They each play their own roles but it is the inferior turbinates that most commonly affect airflow. Usually, there is space between the septum and turbinates to allow air to pass through the nose. However, when the bone or soft tissue of the turbinates becomes enlarged, they cause nasal congestion, blockage and obstruction, narrowing the space between them and the septum.
HOW DO WE FIX THIS?
A turbinate reduction is the preferred surgical treatment to shrink the size of the turbinates and improve breathing. Inferior turbinate surgery which is typically performed to improve nasal airflow and reduce nasal blockage / congestion. It is a minor, minimally-invasive procedure to shrink the size of the turbinates and improve breathing.
IS THIS RELATED TO THUMB SUCKERS?
Whilst there isn’t a proven connection between enlarged turbinates and thumb sucking, enlarged turbinates can have the same impact on facial anatomy as that of a thumb sucking. This is because, like thumb suckers, enlarged turbinates force people to breathe through their mouths, putting them at higher risk of developing longer faces and sleep apnea.
Did you know about turbinates? Well now you do!