Snoring, insomnia, and sleep apnea are sleeping disorders associated with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor. Snoring and apnea cause insomnia when the relaxed muscle of your palette interacts with the air passing through the esophagus during sleep. The result is a noisy vibration that, when loud enough, wakes a person from their slumber and could prevent them from getting their 40 winks.
It is uncommon to connect sleeping problems with a dentist since your teeth don’t necessarily cause the snoring, right? Unfortunately, not. Since the roof of the mouth is part of your oral cavity, there is a dark, mysterious association that we’ll uncover today.
Aside from your palette being part of your oral cavity, the effects of snoring or sleep apnea connect to or even cause dental problems. To name a few, quality sleep with adequate oxygen inhalation reduces bad breath, mouth ulcers, and gum disease. Sleep apnea can also result in TMJ, bruxism, and mouth breathing.
Also known as the temporomandibular joint, the TMJ unites the upper and lower jaw together. During snoring or sleep apnea, your mouth has to open wider for enough air to reach your lungs since the palette obstructs normal passage.
As a result, your jaw has to strain itself the entire time you’re asleep by remaining open, thus causing:
Pain in the jaw.
Pain in the head, neck, and shoulders.
These areas are connected to the oral cavity and—as such—require a proper dentist to address them.
Also known as teeth-grinding, this dental problem can emerge from the stress snoring and sleep apnea place on the body. Since you have to open your mouth wider to let more air in, your body needs to exert more effort to widen your oxygen passage while managing your breathing and sleeping.
Over time, your jaw muscles stiffen, clench when closed, and cause teeth to grind together. This is why teeth grinders often wake up with headaches, neck and jaw discomfort, and a general feeling of weariness even after a night of sleep.
Dentists often spot bruxism through loose teeth, eroded enamels, or cracked pearly whites.
In line with TMJ, snoring and sleep apnea cause another dental problem known as mouth breathing. While proper breathing means we inhale through our nose and exhale from our mouths, mouth breathing is an incorrect method where a person inhales and exhales only from the mouth.
It is a problem for dentists and their patients since too much oxygen dries the mouth, leading to tooth decay, plaque, inflammation of the gums, and gum disease.
You may be suffering from snoring and sleep apnea if you notice the following:
- Discomfort in your jaw after waking up.
- Lightheadedness or headaches originate from your temples upon waking.
- Consistent neck pain after waking up, even after numerous changes in sleep positions.
- Suddenly awaken in the middle of the night, or your spouse complains about being woken up by your snoring.
Don’t just visit a general physician or an ENT specialist. Your dentist should also be one of the first specialists you conduct.
Observe these symptoms with your child as well. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, it is not only adults who suffer from these disorders. Around four percent of children aged two to eight can have sleep apnea.
Sometimes, it’s just a matter of position, such as preventing them from sleeping on their backs. The roof of your mouth has more room to obstruct your esophagus due to gravity. Lying on your side may solve the problem. However, if the above symptoms persist, visit your dentist.
Forewarned is forearmed. This information should help you deal with sleep apnea and other dental problems once and for all. Don’t just base your solutions on what you read online. Always consult with a professional to get the best diagnosis and prognosis for you and your family.
That said, set an appointment with Smart Dental Care if you need a dentist in Holladay, Utah! We offer services for all your dental needs, from cavities to dentures to whitening, and are happy to answer any of your dental questions when you come in for a consultation.