Does Snoring Impact Your Oral Health?

Snoring is a common phenomenon that affects millions of people worldwide. While many people view it as a harmless nuisance, recent research suggests that snoring may have more profound effects than just disturbing your partner’s sleep.

In addition to its impact on sleep quality, snoring may also pose risks to your oral health. Let’s take a closer look at how snoring has the potential to affect your teeth and gums.

The Mechanics of Snoring

Snoring occurs when airflow through the mouth and nasal passages is partially obstructed during sleep. This creates vibrations in the soft tissues of the throat, producing the sound of snoring.

This partial obstruction of the airway can turn into a complete obstruction if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Snoring is one of the primary symptoms of OSA, which causes complete pauses in breathing during sleep, sometimes up to two minutes long.

Sleep apnea can result in serious health complications, but it can also impact your oral health [1].

Snoring and Oral Health

While snoring itself is not directly harmful to oral health, it can contribute to several oral health issues:

  • Tooth decay. People who snore are more likely to have dry mouth since their mouth is often open during sleep [2]. A dry mouth has less saliva, which plays a crucial role in neutralizing harmful acids and protecting the tooth enamel. Dry mouth has been associated with a higher risk of enamel damage and tooth decay.
  • Gum disease. If your snoring is caused by sleep apnea, you may have more chronic inflammation in the body, which leads to a higher risk of gum disease [3]. More inflammation can tax the immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off the infection seen in gum disease.
  • TMJ disorders. Sleep apnea has been associated with a higher risk of the jaw clenching and teeth grinding seen in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which can cause symptoms such as jaw pain, jaw dysfunction, and even tooth damage [4].

How to Protect Your Smile If You Snore

If you snore or have sleep apnea, there are a few important things you can do to protect your body and your smile.

First, maintain good oral hygiene. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits can help you reduce the impact of snoring on your oral health.

It’s also essential to stay hydrated. Adequate hydration helps combat dry mouth by promoting saliva production. Sip water throughout the day and keep a glass of water by your bedside during sleep.

If you snore and have not yet received an evaluation for sleep apnea, ask your dentist for a referral. Sleep apnea significantly impacts your quality of life and your health, so seeking treatment is crucial.

Your dentist may also recommend an oral appliance for you to use, which can reposition the jaw to reduce snoring and even help reduce the effects of sleep apnea by keeping the airway open during sleep.

Ask Your Dentist About Your Snoring

Don’t ignore the impact of snoring on your oral health. The connection between snoring and oral health issues such as dry mouth, tooth decay, gum disease, and potential TMJ disorders highlights the importance of addressing snoring. Ask your dentist about your snoring during your next appointment to protect not just your smile but your overall health!

Sources:
1. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/all-topics-a-z/sleep-apnea-and-snoring
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16911034/
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9393785/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3706181/

Summary
Article Name
Does Snoring Impact Your Oral Health?
Description
In addition to its impact on sleep quality, snoring may also pose risks to your oral health. Let’s take a closer look at how snoring has the potential to affect your teeth and gums.
Author
Potomac Family Dentistry
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Dr. Ahmed Uthman
Dr. Uthman also began practicing general dentistry in 1997, and went on to gain advanced training in orthodontics in 2006. He is dedicated to his patients, and strives to provide treatments that address the underlying issues that cause most cosmetic conditions. He has a great amount of compassion for his patients, and believes that having a long lasting doctor/patient relationship helps to increase the quality and effectiveness of care. Due to his commitment to a high standard of care and additional training, Dr. Uthman is also recognized as an Invisalign Preferred Provider. Dr. Uthman spends much of his free time with his wife and daughters. He enjoys watching soccer matches, playing tennis, and has recently taken up golf as well. Dr. Uthman is trilingual, speaking Kurdish, Arabic, and English.