Snoring happens when your breathing during sleep is partially obstructed, which makes the soft tissues that support your airway vibrate as air passes through. The sound can be soft or loud, but for people living with someone who snores, it can be a very annoying challenge to deal with! If you snore or someone you love snores, did you know that your dentist can help alleviate snoring? Here’s how your oral healthcare professional can improve your sleep and your quality of life with oral appliance therapy!
How Snoring Can Point to a Bigger Issue
Not everyone who snores will have an underlying health issue, but for some people, snoring can be an indicator of a more serious problem.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder in which the airway is so obstructed during sleep that the person will stop breathing at different points throughout the night. The body will eventually wake itself up, but these pauses in breathing mean your body isn’t getting enough oxygen, which can lead to chronic health issues, including heart disease and diabetes .
Alcohol and tobacco use, being overweight, and even certain medications can influence your risk for snoring. People who sleep on their back also are more likely to snore, so while snoring doesn’t always mean you have a sleep disorder, if you experience daytime fatigue even after sleeping all night, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor to see if sleep apnea could be the culprit.
What Are Oral Appliances?
Oral appliances are a simple device that fits easily in your mouth. Unlike continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, an oral appliance fits similarly to a retainer and gently repositions your jaw to keep your airway open during sleep .
Many people with OSA and even those who snore without a sleep disorder prefer oral appliances over CPAP therapy, which can be cumbersome and noisy during the night. Oral appliances have been shown to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea and stop cessations of breathing during the night .
If you snore or have a sleep apnea diagnosis, your dentist can fit you for an oral appliance. Custom made for your unique smile, these devices are comfortable, easy to use, and can alleviate your snoring and associated symptoms!
Your Dentist Isn’t Just for Teeth
Your dentist is your partner in helping support not just your oral health, but your overall wellness as it relates to your smile. Even if you snore but aren’t sure if you have sleep apnea, your dentist can refer you to a sleep specialist for a potential diagnosis and assist with your treatment.
If snoring has impacted your health, an oral appliance could be the answer to your symptoms. Ask your dentist about oral appliance therapy and if it could help alleviate your snoring during your next appointment!