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Are Dental Issues the Cause of Your Snoring Problem?

Posted on 10/13/2015 by Tom Bierman
A woman that can't sleep due to her husband snoring loudly!Has your significant other been complaining about your excessive snoring? Well, did you know that in addition to causing potential relationship problems, snoring can have implications for your oral health? It is possible that a dental issue is actually behind your obnoxious nighttime snoring.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring is a very common problem, and according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, 40% of men, 24% of women, and up to 12% of children are thought to snore habitually. The fact that there are so many causes of snoring makes it so widespread, and some of the most common include:

•  Conditions involving the anatomy. Some people are born with a narrow airway due to a thick, soft palate, an elongated uvular, or especially large tonsils. People who are overweight may have more fat tissue found on the back of the throat, and this can constrict the airway and result in snoring.
•  Nasal issues. Chronic congestion could be the cause of your snoring, as the air flow can be obstructed when you are trying to breathe at night.
•  Use of substances. Tobacco, sedatives, and alcohol are all thought to relax the throat muscles. This will decrease your body's natural defenses against obstructing the airway, and the end result is often snoring.

If you have been dealing with a snoring problem, your dentist may refer you back to your primary care physician in order to rule out obstructive sleep apnea. In some cases, you may be referred to a sleep specialist that will conduct a thorough sleep evaluation, and this could involve a home sleep apnea test or an overnight sleep study at a certified sleep center. The sleep doctor can then interpret the data in order to give you a definitive diagnosis.

How is Snoring Affecting Your Mouth?

Snoring can cause a variety of problems with your mouth. The most common is dry mouth, which involves a lack of the saliva that is needed to coat and moisten the tissue of the mouth. When salivary flow is disrupted as a result of snoring, you can experience numerous oral health problems, including infections, tooth decay, gum disease, burning mouth syndrome, and chronic bad breath.

Saliva is a crucial component to keeping the oral cavity clean. It washes the gums, tongue, and cheeks to remove dead cells, and if these cells aren't removed, they can rot and create an odor. When there isn't enough saliva in your mouth, harmful bacteria can also grow too quickly, resulting in mouth sores. Saliva is also needed to neutralize acids produced by plaque, and without the cleansing effects, gum disease and tooth decay would become even more common dental health concerns.

How Can You Treat Snoring?

If you have been experiencing excessive and chronic snoring, consider speaking to your dentist about possible treatment options. Research has indicated that oral appliance therapy can be an effective treatment option for both snoring and sleep apnea. This appliance will be worn in the mouth while sleeping, and since it resembles a sports mouth guard, it is generally pretty comfortable. These appliances will support the jaw to keep the airway open, which often takes care of snoring.

Certain lifestyle changes may also be used to treat snoring. You should consider losing weight if you are overweight or obese in order to reduce the fat that may be obstructing your airway. Sleeping on your side can also help to reduce snoring, as can avoiding vices like smoking and alcohol.

If you have been living with a snoring problem, a trip to your dentist might be in order. Please contact us today to set up your appointment.

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