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Keep Your Mouth Shut to Improve Your Performance

Disponible en espanol

Guest blog by Annette Verpillot, President, Posturepro

It has been known for many years that people with proper occlusion of your mouth have greater endurance and better performance than those with malocclusion. The alignment of the muscles of the jaw and teeth can have a direct impact on a player’s performance and strength, as the upper and lower jaw are what allows you to connect your anterior and posterior muscular chains. Without the jaw it would be impossible to exert strength.

When you look at some of the best athletes in the world they all have a common jaw structure: good fascial features; a strong jaw that is not coming forward and not backing up airways, and large nostrils.

The vast majority of health care professionals are unaware of the negative impact of mouth breathing on global health and sports performance. The development of the jaw and all the functions attached to it, nasal breathing, chewing, suction, swallowing and phonation, will either put the body in a state of physiologic health or state of dysfunction.

Breathing Patterns

When breathing through your mouth the oral system becomes unbalanced and could create a deformation of the upper jaw (maxillary), “V shaped” arch as opposed to a correct “U shaped” arch. This will produce an incorrect swallowing function. Upon improper swallowing, the tongue rests on the lateral teeth, hindering tooth eruption, and causes a lateral tongue trust.

When the maxilla is not well developed due to mouth breathing, the face is long and skinny. The eye sockets do not develop properly and the eyeballs cannot develop optimally into a sphere shape, which can result in various ophthalmic issues such as astigmatism or myopia.

The narrowing of the upper arch will push the lower jaw back. This forces the TMJ to shift distally while the TMJ disk, slips forward. This is what causes a reciprocal clicking. In addition, the muscles of the head could be in a state of hypertonus or spasms, which could eventually result in tension in the neck area and promote headaches.

Since a normal adult cranium weighs anywhere between 12 to 18 pounds, the musculoskeletal strain in the cervical region needed to support a forward head posture can cause a cascade of events leading right down to the feet. A forward head posture creates the center of gravity to shift forward, a condition knows to Posturologists as an anterior scapular plane.


Here is a list of symptoms that can be associated to an anterior scapular plane:

-Lower back pain

-Hip pain

-Knee pain

-Calf pain

-Heavy legs

-Compressed patella

-Gripping toes

Sympathetic overload

When you switch to nose breathing, you improve the amount of oxygen delivered to your cells and you inflate the entire lung. This includes the lower lobes, which are connected to the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, the branch that calms the body and slows the heart rate.

So mouth breathers tend to have revved up sympathetic nervous systems, and thus might have a harder time to relax. The body produces 25% of its nitric oxide from nose breathing which enhances memory and learning, regulates blood pressure, reduces inflammation, improves sleep quality, increases endurance and strength, and improves immune function. So in conclusion, keep your mouth shut to change your life!

Here are two simple tips that you can do to improve nasal breathing:

  • An easy way to instantly start promoting nasal breathing is to put water in your mouth and keep it there throughout your training program.
  • Position your tongue on top of your palate 2-5 mins per day.

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