Snoring used to be looked upon as nothing more than a nuisance that caused spouses to shake their loved one awake so they could reposition themselves and everyone could then get a good night sleep. Thanks to fairly recent research though it’s now evident that snoring is far from the benign occurrence that everyone thought it was. Of the estimated 60 million Americans who snore, about 18 million of them also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
What Exactly is Snoring?
To better understand snoring, OSA and its effects on a person, it’s important to define snoring accurately. Snoring occurs when your breathing is obstructed in some manner as you sleep. It results in the pharyngeal tissue vibrating as you breath. This obstruction could be the result of various factors including increased fat deposits caused by obesity. When a person takes a sedative or drinks alcohol before going to sleep, an increase in snoring could result. This is because the pharyngeal airway collapses more.
Another common cause of snoring is when the tongue becomes too relaxed. If this is the cause of snoring, it can be corrected easily by wearing an oral appliance. This device works by moving both the tongue and the lower jaw forward enough so that the airway stays open while the person is sleeping.
Perceptions Slowly Change
Until recently, it was thought that snoring was limited to being a social problem. Having a partner who snores can have a serious and negative impact on that person’s well-being. In addition to leading to daytime fatigue, having a partner who snores could result in the couple having separate bedrooms. It can also have a negative effect on the health of the bed partner. A recent report by USA Today found that of those couples who were aged 40 and older, 27 percent slept in separate spaces. It’s expected that as obesity in the population increases, so will the percentage of couples who must deal with snoring.
Snoring and Health Risks
Instead of being solely a social problem that largely affects only those around them, the person who snores is also at risk of side effects from OSA. These include heart attack, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and even death. If you are a snorer, it’s important to seek out care from a dentist with experience in the oral appliances that can put a stop to obstructive sleep apnea.
How Oral Appliances Can Help
While the health risks associated with snoring are scary, there are effective snoring remedies that can help. Two devices that are effective are a tongue retaining mouthpiece and a mandibular advancement device (MAD). The tongue retaining mouthpiece keeps the tongue from relaxing over the airway while the MAD moves the jaw forward to keep the airway open.
Working closely with your physician is the key to determining the right snoring solutions for your sleep apnea. At Dupont Dental, we custom design these oral devices, so they work comfortably and effectively. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or for more information.