Everybody snores sometimes. But what should you do if your snoring becomes chronic? And what could be the cause? Chronic snoring is disruptive to both you and your partner, leading to restless sleep and potential health problems.
Now, you may be wondering: What does snoring have to do with oral health? Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between your teeth and snoring.
What causes snoring?
Snoring can be caused by a number of factors. Habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and sleeping in certain positions can contribute to a blocked airway and lead to snoring. However, oral health and the physiology of your teeth and mouth can also cause snoring and a number of serious health conditions.
Whether you lost a tooth in an injury or had some surgically removed, missing teeth can impact the physiology of your mouth and narrow your airway which can cause snoring.
If you’re suffering from an overbite or TMJ, your jaw may be struggling to support itself during sleep. Without proper jaw support, your tongue may be partially blocking your airway.
Grinding or clenching the teeth is a common problem, especially during sleep. This is also known as bruxism, and it can lead to a number of health complications including sleep apnea.
A crowded smile, especially for those with a small or narrow jaw, leaves less room for the tongue to sit comfortably and often pushes it further back into the mouth. Additionally, those who have not had their wisdom teeth removed may experience swelling of the tissue surrounding the exposed area, which can lead to further inflammation around the airway.
Overly relaxed throat muscles or enlarged tissue
If the muscles in your throat and tongue are too relaxed during sleep, they begin to vibrate against each other, partially blocking airflow.
Oral health and sleep apnea
While snoring occasionally is rarely cause for concern, chronic snoring can be a sign of a serious health condition, including sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when muscles in and around the throat relax and block your airway. This causes your breathing to start and stop sporadically and can have a serious impact on your quality of sleep and long-term health.
Symptoms of dental-related snoring
So how can you know for sure if your chronic snoring is the result of a dental issue? Of course, it’s always recommended that you visit our office if you’re experiencing any issues. We can do a thorough examination and help you determine if your teeth are the cause of your snoring.
Additionally, there are a number of symptoms to watch out for that signal your snoring is related to your oral health or obstructive sleep apnea:
Sore or painful jaw
If you wake up with a sore jaw, it could be a sign that your snoring is the result of improper jaw positioning or posture.
Gasping for breath
If you find yourself gasping for breath when you wake up, this is a sign that you may have sleep apnea caused by swollen or overly relaxed tissue in the throat or back of the mouth.
Tooth breakage or swollen gums
If the structure of your teeth is showing signs of wear and tear or if you’re experiencing swollen or sensitive gums, this could be a sign that you’re grinding your teeth at night, which may be at the root of your snoring.
The impact of snoring on long term health
- Heart disease
- Early death
How to prevent and treat snoring
The right steps to prevent snoring will depend somewhat on the exact cause. However, there are changes you can make to improve oral health and ward off the sleep disruptions and health concerns associated with snoring:
- Avoiding alcohol before bed
- Losing weight
- Sleeping on your side
- Raising your pillow
If you’re still dealing with snoring and you suspect there may be an underlying issue, there are other treatments that can be utilized depending on the root cause:
- A mouth guard to support your jaw and reduce grinding
- A Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine to regulate breathing in the case of sleep apnea
- Wisdom teeth removal or upper airway surgery
The cause of your snoring will significantly impact the appropriate type of prevention and treatment. Be sure to visit our offices and we can help diagnose the cause of your snoring and provide you with guidance and treatment.
Our treatment technology
At Sedation Dentistry, we have the knowledge, facilities, and expertise to get to the root of your snoring and provide comprehensive and effective treatment. If your problem is structural, we have a number of comfort-focused surgical options, from dental implants to wisdom teeth removal. We have risen to the challenge by investing in top-of-the-line technology that makes surgery safer, more effective, and less invasive.
We also provide high-tech, nonsurgical laser treatments that can improve the health of the soft tissue in your mouth. If inflamed gum tissue is causing snoring and discomfort, we have treatments to alleviate this.