Over 80 million Americans snore regularly. But frequent and loud snoring might be a sign of sleep apnea, a very serious problem.
Snoring May be a Sign of Sleep Apnea
An apnea is a pause in breathing when you sleep up to 90 seconds, usually because of an obstruction of the throat due to a large tongue, tonsils, or other fatty tissues that block the airway, especially if the individual is sleeping on his back (and far more men than women suffer from this). The body’s reaction is to start to wake you up to breathe more deeply, but in most cases the individual does not become fully conscious and begins breathing normally for a while. This can happen up to 100 times a night.
The Effects of Constant Sleep Disruptions
The consequences of this constant disruption of sound sleep means being severely tired in the morning, which can result in a high risk of traffic accidents, inability to focus at work, high blood pressure, and unwarranted irritability in relationships (especially given the disruptions to the partner’s sleep). However, an estimated 80% of those who have sleep apnea have never had it diagnosed.
But there are other health consequences of snoring. Breathing through the mouth dries it, reducing the saliva output that is important to combating harmful oral bacteria, leading to more cavities and periodontal (gum) infections. Smoking and those who drink excess alcohol or use sedatives also are likely to have less saliva.
Snoring can also be caused by a deviated septum (which requires surgery), allergies, or sinus infections (the latter two can be treated with medications or alternatives).
As many know by now, the health of your mouth also has a big impact on the entire body, since gum infections result in more oral bacteria that raise the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s.
If you snore a lot, call Pacific Dental Care for a full dental exam to see whether Dr. Marine can determine the cause and recommend your best options to prevent it and the health consequences. She can create a personalized mouthguard to be worn when you sleep, which will keep the airway open, which is more comfortable to use than the standard medical treatment. If you require another solution, she can refer you to a specialist.