Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that leads to the cessation of breathing at different intervals throughout the night. The cessation of breathing occurs when your throat muscles relax, which blocks breathing airways when sleeping. A person with this condition will snore as they involuntary try to unblock the breathing airways while asleep. Other than the common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, like sleepiness during the day and loud snoring, this sleeping disorder can also affect your dental health. Keep reading to know how this is possible.
Before we discuss the connection between obstructive sleep apnea and your oral health, it is essential to know this sleeping disorder in detail.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes the blockage of breathing airways during sleeping. When you have this sleeping disorder, your airways intermittently collapse or narrow, which causes fragmented sleep and health complications like heart failure, stroke and can also cause low blood pressure.
Teeth grinding or bruxism is associated with sleep apnea. Bruxism happens due to the relaxation of the tongue, which will cause you to grip your jaw and grind your teeth involuntarily. Although teeth grinding can help alleviate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, it has detrimental effects on your teeth.
First, teeth grinding can damage teeth, jaw, and any dental restoration you might have. When you grind your teeth, their surfaces begin to wear off, and if you have any crown or filling installed, they may loosen or fall.
The temporomandibular joint links the jaw to the skull on each side. Sleep apnea can cause TMJ disorder, and this causes a clenched jaw.
Below are some of the symptoms of TMJ disorder:
The condition might force you to sleep with your mouth open when you have obstructive sleep apnea. Sleeping with your mouth open can lead to dry mouth syndrome. This syndrome is where your salivary glands don’t process enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Saliva is essential for your mouth and teeth as it neutralizes acids keeping tooth decay and gum disease at bay. Without enough saliva, your teeth are vulnerable to germs and bacteria that can lead to decay and periodontal disease.
Although anyone can get this sleeping disorder, certain factors predispose you to the disorder. The first is being overweight. When you have excess weight, you have excess fat deposits around your upper airway, and this obstructs air. This is why the dentist in Frisco, TX, recommends exercising to keep your weight in check, as this can alleviate sleep apnea symptoms.
High blood pressure is another risk factor. Obstructive sleep apnea causes periodic stoppage of breathing and this causes your body to release stress hormones. These hormones lead to stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Other obstructive sleep apnea risk factors:
The dentist near you can recommend using a CPAP machine. This machine is the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. The machine delivers constant steady air pressure to assist with breathing at night.
Other machines like the APAP and BIPAP also deliver pressure to your body but differ from the CPAP machine. For instance, the APAP machine monitors pressure changes in your body to deliver the right amount of air while asleep.
You can also manage the condition by doing the following:
Now that you know the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, if you observe any, head to Millennium Smiles, and our dentist will recommend the most suitable treatment for your condition.