Has your significant other, or possibly neighbor been complaining about your excessive snoring? Well, did you know that in addition to causing potential relationship issues, snoring can actually pose a risk to your oral health? It’s very possible that a dental issue is actually behind your obnoxious nighttime snoring. Our team of expert sleep dentists in Alexandria VA can help uncover the reason behind your excessive 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 even up to 12% of children are thought to snore every night. The fact that there are so many causes of snoring makes it so widespread, and some of the most common include:
- Conditions based upon your anatomy. Oftentimes, people are boring with airways that are simply too narrow to effectively pass air through them. Reasons for this are due to a thick, soft palate, an elongated uvular, or especially large tonsils. Obesity may factor into this as well as they experience an increased amount of fat tissue found on the back of the throat, which can constrict breathing.
- Issues with your nose. Oftentimes people who have severe allergies or chronic congestion are susceptible to snoring as well. Airways are restricted severely due to phlegm or inflammation and may cause snoring throughout the night.
- Smoking tobacco, marijuana, or other outside substances through your lungs. These cause a buildup of tar and obstruct the airway, making it difficult to sleep silently throughout the night.
- Sleep apnea. This case is more severe than simple snoring throughout the night and needs to be diagnosed by a dentist certified in sleep apnea.
If you’re dealing with chronic snoring, 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.
Can You Treat Snoring?
Yes! If you have been experiencing excessive and chronic snoring, consider speaking to our team 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.