Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of the body’s recovery and regeneration process. On average, we need around 6 to 8 hours of good quality sleep that includes periods of REM, deep sleep. If we don’t get this, we can suffer for it the next day. Sleep apnea can also cause dental issues, which we at Aesthetic Family Dentistry are naturally interested in.
How sleep apnea affects your wellbeing
There are three main types of sleep apnea. Central apnea, which is where the airways are open but the brain isn’t processing the oxygen. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is where the soft palate within the mouth relaxes too much and blocks the airway. Finally, there is mixed apnea which is a combination of both.
Sleep apnea can cause snoring, which in turn can cause you to grind your teeth in order to open the airways. This grinding gradually wears down the teeth. We call it bruxism and it affects millions of people every day. Snoring can also strain the respiratory system as it starves the body of oxygen. This is not something we want to ignore!
Poor sleep can also affect our long term health. Without a solid period of rest, our brain and body cannot get the downtime it needs to clean, regenerate cells, relax and perform all its processes. Over time, this can have serious medical repercussions.
Why sleep is so important
We now know that sleep is the time when our brain does its “housekeeping.” It releases cerebrospinal fluid that removes dead cells and leftover toxins from the day before. This is an essential function which allows the brain to regenerate and to work at full capacity the next day.
Our entire body is still working hard even while we are at rest. Dead cells are replaced, blood is cleaned and regenerated, bones and muscles are repaired or regrown, any damage is repaired and a huge range of other processes are performed while we are deep asleep.
Sleep is also directly related to your heart health. During REM sleep, the period of deep sleep where your eyes are moving, your body is cleaning and repairing your heart and blood vessels ready for the next day. Poor sleep is known to cause heart problems and is something we all need to avoid.
We are still learning how important good sleep is to us, but every new thing we learn tells us how vital it is.
How Aesthetic Family Dentistry can help
There are dental appliances available that can help hold your jaw and tongue in place during sleep. They have been found to be very effective in preventing sleep apnea and for providing a good night’s sleep. These appliances should not be bought over the counter, but fitted by a qualified dentist. A dentist with experience in fitting appliances and with dealing with sleep apnea.
Aesthetic Family Dentistry are such dentists. If you think you’re suffering from sleep apnea, or you snore a lot, visit our office for a consultation. We can help!