Snoring & Sleep Disorders
Is snoring bad?
Yes! While everyone will occasionally snore due to being excessively tired, chronic or constant snoring is generally an indication that you may have an issue with your breathing at night. Snoring is due to vibration of tissues at the back of your throat, and is one of the indicators of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (also known as OSA). OSA is a condition where your breathing stops during your sleep for over ten seconds! This may have effects on your general health such as higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, reduced IQ and attention span.
What does snoring have to do with teeth?
While snoring has many effects on your general health, it also can affect your teeth as well! Teeth grinding can be related to microarousals (or waking) during your sleep due to abnormal breathing, which occurs frequently in patients with OSA. Many patients who snore also suffer from gastric reflux, where the acidic contents of your stomach can end up in your mouth and partially melt away or soften your teeth. Also, many snoring patients breathe with their mouth open. This can lead to a dry mouth, where saliva is not present and cannot protect and strengthen your teeth from any acid present.
What's wrong with breathing through my mouth all the time?
Breathing through your mouth not only reduces the amount of oxygen that your body receives during your sleep, but also dries out your mouth! The saliva which keeps your mouth moist has many roles, such as helping to rebuild and protect the enamel of your teeth, as well as fighting nasty bacteria which lives in your mouth. If you constantly breathe through your mouth, you may have an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
How can a dentist help me stop snoring or sleep better?
We can help you to manage your snoring or poor sleep by referring you for a take home sleep study to assess your breathing, or a consultation with an ear nose and throat specialist who has interests in snoring and sleep breathing disorders. If indicated, sometimes an appliance which you wear at night may help to improve your breathing, prevent damage from tooth grinding and possibly stop you from snoring. All of these things will hopefully help you to have a good night’s sleep!
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