Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can cause snoring and pauses during breathing while you sleep. This condition can lead to severe changes in your sleeping habits, in addition to serious overall health problems and difficulties in your relationships with others. Dr. Susie Ang offers a range of effective treatment options to lessen the harmful effects of snoring and sleep apnea and help you get a better, healthier night’s sleep.
Causes of Snoring and Sleep Apnea
When you sleep, muscles in the throat and mouth expand and relax, causing your airway to narrow. If the airway becomes so narrow that you miss breaths, you likely have sleep apnea. These missed breaths can last as long as 10 seconds or more. Snoring is just one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. When you snore, air is passing through the narrowed airway and causing vibration among the soft tissues at the back of the throat. This ultimately results in a struggle to breathe – and the harder the struggle, the louder the snoring becomes. Snoring can be the result of:
- Sleep apnea and breathing interruption during sleep
- A dry/irritated airway caused by an arid climate, heating systems, and/or smoking
- Swollen nasal tissues
- Muscles that become too relaxed after the use of medications or alcohol
- Dryness of the throat caused by excessive use of mouthwashes, syrups, or beverages with high levels of alcohol.
Individuals who suffer from diabetes and other health conditions are more likely to be affected by obstructive sleep apnea. The condition is also more likely to develop as people age, and also in those who smoke and those who have gained weight.
What Dangers does Sleep Apnea Pose to My Overall Health?
Sleep apnea interrupts the body’s ability to repair itself during sleep, and can ultimately lead to the development of other health problems, including:
- Increased risk of sudden cardiac death during sleep
- Congestive heart failure
- Increased risk of cardiac failure, heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening health conditions
- Mental impairment of cognitive functions such as memory and complex, rational thought
- Anxiety, depression, stress, and mood swings
- High blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity
- Less motor control
- Less alertness
- Increased risk of erectile dysfunction
How Dentistry Can Help
The good news about sleep apnea is the fact that there are a wide variety of treatments that have proven effective in reducing the effects of the condition and giving patients a more peaceful night’s sleep. Dr. Ang can help you combat sleep apnea with treatments including oral appliances such as night guards (also known as snore guards) to reduce the narrowing of your airway and allow to breathe more easily through the mouth and nose when you sleep. These night guards are custom-designed for each patient in order to ensure the most comfortable fit.
Please contact Dr. Ang for more information on treatment for snoring and sleep apnea.