“Mouthbreather” is something of an insult, but it seems to have a basis in reality. I saw a young guy, late teens, today who was a literal mouthbreather, he was standing there with his mouth agape, lower lip protruding. I have no idea of his actual intellectual level, but he looked like he was stupid simply because he was a mouthbreather, which even as I was looking at him I thought was unfair of me to cast judgement on such little evidence.

I have known people of all levels of intelligence, from literal cretins and the extremely stupid, to those who struggled academically probably from dyslexia or ADD (undiagnosed in my era), to people of average to higher intelligence, of which I am part, all the way up to very intelligent people indeed (though I don’t think I’ve ever known a genius or savant). None of these people were literal mouthbreathers.

Is there anything to the “mouthbreather = stupid” connection? Whatever the case, why are people mouthbreathers, what causes them to do that with their mouths? It can’t be very comfortable to have their mouth exposed to the air all the time.

Next time: People who chew with their mouths open.

Sinus troubles?

Edit: By which I mean chronic sinus troubles such that they can’t effectively breath through their nose. I used to have a friend in high school who was a mouth breather for this reason.

Till, say, my twenties, it was more comfortable to me to breath by my mouth than my nose. For unkwnown reasons, I didn’t know how to blow my nose till my teen years, then I learned how to blow my nose, but it’s like my nose is always mostly blocked. I can blow my nose, nothing comes out, but my nose is still blocked. If I inspire strongly through my nose, the usual set up is my left nostril barely move at all, and the right one is like operational at two-third.
I had various exams but all seem fine inside my nose.

All that to say I breathed through my mouth for the longest time because I can take biggest breathes than through my nose. Now most of the time I breath through my nose, because I know it is seen proper, but when alone or distracted I reverse to mouth breathing.

I was like this. It sucked.

Yes, I have chronic sinus blockage, and there are times when I must breathe through my mouth. My IQ doesn’t plummet at these times.

I notice that when I’m asleep, I tend to get a stuffy nose and breath through my mouth. I also tend not to think as hard and rarely come up with genius insights into life, the universe, and everything.

So there’s your correlation.

Ba-dum- CSH!!

I had a wonky nasal septum and chronic sinusitis until I had surgery in my twenties, so I ended up breathing through my mouth a lot, because I wasn’t getting enough air through my nose.

Even now, my nose blocks up a lot and I find myself needing to supplement my air intake by opening my mouth a little. Not to mention that 20+ years of habit have taken hold. I don’t stand around slack-jawed and gasping, but my mouth is often a little bit open. I realize it’s frowned upon in general, and breathing through the nose is the “right way”, so I make a conscious effort to keep my mouth shut, but if I’m not getting enough air, screw it.

Maybe that’s why I talk so much - breathing through the mouth isn’t as noticeable when you’re yammering on and on. :slight_smile:

I was a mouth breather until I had my septum fixed and my turbinates reduced.

I think the term “mouthbreather” may have to do with the fact that some mental retardations (Downs is the obvious one) have physical deformities which lead to those suffering not being able to properly close their mouth. Downs can lead to an enlarged tongue which doesn’t allow someone to properly close their mouth.

Related threads:

I breathe mostly through my mouth. I had ear-nose-throat issues as a kid, and I still find it difficult most of the time to breathe through my nose. My voice is very nasally and I always sound like I have a cold. I often have to consciously switch to nose breathing when I’m eating or drinking in order to taste the food better, although sometimes, when I’m relaxed, I will nose breathe naturally.

One question for normal nose-breathers–is it difficult at all for you to breathe through your mouths? I ask because I’ve been in a number of situations where there is a terrible stench of some kind and I just mouth breathe so as not to be bothered by it. It seems others either are not able to do this easily, or it doesn’t occur to them to do so.

Perhaps they’re just foreign NBA players.

I’m interested in the answers because I do the same.

The smartest dude I knew, a actual math genius got a full scholarship to CalTech, is a professor there now, etc- has a nasal condition that makes him breath though his mouth.

No correlation.

I have to concentrate on it if I want to breathe through my nose…and then I can only do it for a short while before I feel like I’m slowly suffocating. I’ve been this way my entire life…I guess I’ve got some kind of blockage up in my nasal cavities, but I’ve never had it checked out. But I don’t sit around with my jaw resting on my chest or anything, I just usually have my lips slightly parted so I can breathe through them. Does lead to a problem with chapped lips, though.

And I’m fairly smart, too. Tested above average in school, always made easy A’s, etc. Love to read and do puzzles to relax. So no correlation in my case.

That’s too bad: air not going through your nose but you sound nasal anyway.

My wife finds it difficult to breath though her mouth for some reason. When forced to by congestion she sounds like she’s gasping for air.

I’m in the club of those with chronic congestion so I’m usually more comfortable breathing through my mouth.

When I sleep on my side I typically have only the upper nostril unblocked. When I turn to the other side, the (now) upper nostril unblocks after about a minute, they’ll both be open for a few seconds, and then the lower one blocks up.

Damn. Now I’m aware of my tongue…

I’ve always been sort of irritated by the “mouth breather = idiot” thought process, because while I often breathe through my mouth, I’m pretty certain I’m not an idiot. Or maybe I am, who knows. Since I’m happy with what I’ve achieved in life, I guess it doesn’t matter.

I’ve had sinus issues my whole life, and still frequently wake up in the middle of the night nearly choking to death because I can’t breathe through my nose, and my mouth and throat have gotten so dry during the night that my tongue seems to get sort of stuck, and I wake up hacking like I’ve been suffocating. It occurs during the day too, but as I’m awake, it’s easier to regulate.

Another part-time mouth breather checking in. For the record, I am stoo-PID! So make of that what you will.

My girlfriend’s mother has always derided mouth breathers, and it has stuck with the GF to such an extent that she WON’T breath through her mouth, even when she’s stuffed up with a cold. She’ll struggle and struggle, and it’s clear she’s not remotely comfortable, but it either doesn’t occur to her to open her mouth, or perhaps she thinks it keeps her from looking stupid. She’s mistaken.

Note to self.

Avoid dating female mouthbreathers. Can’t get No Satisfaction. :wink: