The sound of snoring at night can keep both the snorer and others in the house from getting a full night of sleep. But did you know that snoring can actually affect both your overall health and oral health? In fact, while snoring is one of those things that may seem odd for your dentist in Cary to talk about, there’s a good reason for it.
Snoring By The Numbers
The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that almost 90 million Americans snore their way through the night and keep everyone within earshot from sleeping soundly. This can leave the entire household at risk for a compromised immune system, cognitive issues, and weight gain. That’s not all. Sometimes snoring is a sign of something called sleep apnea, which can be even more dangerous.
Sleep apnea is broken out into two different types, but both cause the body to stop breathing during sleep. Sometimes hundreds of times each night.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea and is caused by the soft tissues collapsing in the back of the throat, blocking off the airway.
Central Sleep Apnea – Central sleep apnea doesn’t involve a blocked airway but rather a miscommunication between the brain and the breathing muscles. Essentially, the brain fails to signal breathing muscles to breathe, causing lapses in oxygen intake.
While sleep apnea is the cause of snoring in about half of all snorers, the other half is known as primary snorers. These people don’t stop breathing during the night, but can sure make a lot of noise. It’s important to talk with your doctor about any snoring habits so you can protect yourself if you do have sleep apnea.
What Does All of This Have to Do with Teeth?
If you are a snoring person, we recommend that you talk with your dentist in Cary because of the way snoring can affect your teeth. When snorers are sound asleep, their mouths are wide open, breathing away. This is often true of both primary snorers and sleep apnea patients. If you wake up and your mouth feels sticky or dry, or you have bad breath in the morning, there’s a chance that you may be mouth breathing or snoring. This can quickly dry out saliva production and put you at increased risk of:
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease
- Bad breath
- Tooth loss
Since so many things directly affect your oral health, including snoring, it’s important to always be honest with your dentist in Cary. You may benefit from a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea, or you may need to take additional steps to prevent oral health problems from occurring.