The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

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Do you have insomnia? Do you snore or experience interrupted sleep at night? If you have such symptoms, you probably have a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Dental problems can cause sleep apnea, and also sleep apnea can cause dental problems.

What You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects about 25 million American adults. People with sleep apnea have problems getting quality sleep due to frequent interruptions (apneas) that occur during the night. The apneas may be caused by an array of factors that include having a large tongue, weak air muscles, being obese, among other risk factors. When apnea occurs, it blocks the airways, thus preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea may manifest in various ways, which include:

  • Gasping for breath while asleep
  • Snoring frequently and loudly
  • Waking up fatigued and sleepy
  • Increased forgetfulness
  • Waking up with headaches or dry mouth
  • Decreased libido
  • Waking up to urinate several times during the night
  • Increased anxiety especially in women
  • Frequent bed wetting in children

Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

Having a night of quality sleep is not only good for your general wellbeing, but it also minimizes the chances of having mouth ulcers, bad breath, dental decay, and slows down the development and progression of gum disease. Sleep apnea may cause dental problems such as bruxism, temporomandibular joint, and mouth breathing.

How a Dentist Can Help with Sleep Apnea

Northridge dental experts utilize a non-invasive approach to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. A dentist will perform various tests, including the pharyngometer test, which examines the integrity of your airways. Also, a Northridge dental expert may conduct a take-home sleep study, which seeks to establish your sleeping patterns to check whether you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. If the results indicate that you have sleep apnea, the dentist may recommend a dental appliance to help you overcome sleep apnea.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can have grave effects on your general health and oral health. Fortunately, sleep apnea is easily treatable if it is diagnosed early.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment options, contact Northridge Dentalworks. You can also visit our website to book an appointment today.