Snoring and How Your Dentist Can Help

By October 8, 2014 August 26th, 2015 Dental Health, Sleep Apnea
It is estimated that between 30 and 50 percent of Americans snore on a regular basis. In the vast majority of cases, snoring is completely harmless, with only a tiny fraction indicating something more serious.

Generally, minor or infrequent snoring is nothing to worry about. It’s a natural occurrence caused by lifestyle, sleeping position, bed type and a range of other factors. It’s only when snoring is loud and habitual that you may need treatment. Fortunately, your dentist is usually in a position to help.

Not all snoring is bad

As mentioned, the vast majority of snoring episodes are benign. The worst that can result is poor quality sleep or an elbow in the ribs. It’s only when snoring is serious, loud and frequent that it can have wider medical implications.

One possible cause for snoring is obstructive sleep apnea. This is a condition where the airways get blocked and oxygen intake is reduced. To compensate, your brain wakes you up to change position and breathe properly. This can happen hundreds of times a night, resulting in poor sleep, fatigue, irritability and other symptoms.

How your dentist can help treat snoring

There is a range of treatments available from your dentist that can address the causes of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The exact remedy depends entirely on what is causing the problem, any underlying medical conditions and recommendations from your physician.

Only a certified sleep expert can effectively diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, but as you now know, not all snoring is caused by the condition. Fortunately, dentists have a few treatments for either situation.

One such treatment is the mandibular advancement device. It resembles a mouth guard and brings the lower jaw forward slightly to keep the tongue depressed and out of the airway. It is a very effective treatment for snoring if the tongue is the issue.

Non-medical snoring treatments

As holistic dentists, we are interested in all factors that impact your health and wellbeing. While we can prescribe dental treatment to alleviate snoring, there are also lifestyle factors you can tackle yourself that may help.

Weight loss is an effective remedy to poor sleep and snoring. As little as 10 pounds lost can make all the difference. Changing your sleeping position can also help. We tend to snore while sleeping on our back, so trying to sleep on your front might be all it takes to stop snoring. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals within a couple of hours of going to bed can also help.

There are many causes and treatments for snoring and your dentist can help with many of them. If you would like to talk to us about snoring, contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry today!