Can mouth breathing cause dark circles?

Dr. Palak Dengla, Chief Physiotherapist

Do you like to sleep with a snoring person or dine with a noisy eater? Most of us would say a NO! It is commonly found that people who snore in their sleep and who make noise while eating, are mouth breathers.

Mouth breathing and nasal breathing are two different ways of inhaling and exhaling air. People with nasal congestion, deviated nasal septum, adenoids, enlarged tonsils, stress, sleep apnea, childhood faulty breathing habits, forward head posture (IT Professionals), chronic sinusitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis are generally found to be chronic mouth breathers.

Under the eyes can have multiple causes, including genetic factors, lifestyle habits, and underlying health conditions. However, there are some possible indirect correlations between mouth breathing and under-eye dark circles:

Nasal Congestion

Chronic nasal congestion can lead to mouth breathing as a compensatory mechanism. When the nasal passages are congested, the veins around the eyes may dilate, resulting in a bluish tint or dark appearance. This can contribute to the appearance of under-eye dark circles.

Poor Sleep Quality

Mouth breathing during sleep, such as in cases of sleep apnea or chronic snoring, can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and poor sleep quality. Inadequate sleep can cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to fluid accumulation and the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

Fatigue and Stress

Chronic mouth breathing, and associated sleep disruptions can lead to fatigue and increased stress levels. Fatigue and stress can contribute to the appearance of under-eye dark circles and worsen their visibility.

Allergic Reactions

Mouth breathing may be more common in individuals with allergies or allergic rhinitis, which can cause nasal congestion and eye irritation. Allergic reactions can lead to inflammation, fluid retention, and increased visibility of under-eye dark circles.

Chronic mouth breathing – particularly during childhood, can lead to various issues related to facial development and oral health. Nasal breathing helps maintain proper tongue posture against the palate, which is essential for normal dental arch development, facial aesthetics, and the prevention of malocclusion.


Hold the mouth close together with your hands and breathe only from the nose for more than 30 sec. If you can hold, then there is no structural defect present. It is only a modifiable mouth breathing pattern which can be changed with continuous practice of nasal breathing.

Asthma symptoms, allergic rhinitis, sleep, mood imbalances, baggy under eyes, can be significantly improved if the sufferer learns how to breathe through their nose and not through their mouth. I have seen this to be true in my practice of more than 12 years especially for chronic sinusitis and asthmatics.


· Humming, unilateral and both nostrils. (15min/day)

· Buteyko breathing technique

· Alternate nostril breathing

If you frequently experience difficulties breathing through your nose or suspect you have a chronic mouth breathing habit, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, such as an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) and a nasal breathing rehabilitation specialist who can provide appropriate evaluation and guidance.

To echo, the nose is for breathing and the mouth is for eating and talking – never the two should be confused. “If you don’t use your nose, you lose it!

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