Did you know sleep apnea can cause dental problems adding to health issues? Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against tooth decay. It washes away food debris, neutralizes destructive acids caused by bacteria and helps keep the soft and hard tissues of the mouth in good condition.
Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea that causes dry mouth leading to oral bacterial infections or other dental issues.
Bruxism (aka grinding teeth) diminishes not only your quality of sleep but harms the enamel making your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. It can also lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) which causes migraines, oral numbness or pain, or pinched nerves. Add in any missing teeth and grinding can increase bringing frequent loss of sleep.
If you're concerned you have sleep apnea you should contact your local sleep clinic to schedule a consultation with a sleep specialist or talk with your primary care physician about your sleep troubles. Be sure to ask them about all of the available treatment options including CPAP and dental devices and inquire which may be best suited for you.
Dental and sleep apnea devices available include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP), mouth appliances, and specially designed pillows. Oral treatments include a Mandibular Repositioning device and a Tongue Retaining device. These devices open your airway by bringing your lower jaw forward during sleep. They are acrylic and fit inside your mouth, much like an athletic mouth guard. Others may fit around your head and chin to adjust the position of your lower jaw as well.
If you live in Alaska and would like to speak with a sleep educator about your symptoms to determine if a sleep study is right for you, click on the link below to receive a free 10-minute phone consultation.