Waking up feeling groggy even after a seemingly full night’s sleep is frustrating. As is snoring loudly or waking up abruptly due to shortness of breath. Even worse, though, is the fact that these might be signs of a condition known as sleep apnea.
As your trusted Carmel, IN dentist, we believe that awareness is key to better oral and overall health. In this blog post, we’re here to shed light on five things you probably didn’t know about sleep apnea.
1. It’s More Than Just Snoring
While snoring can be a common symptom, sleep apnea is a more serious condition that involves the temporary interruption of your breathing during sleep. These interruptions, known as apneas, can last from a few seconds to a minute and often repeat throughout the night. It’s important to remember that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but loud and chronic snoring can be a warning sign worth investigating.
2. There Are Different Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome (also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea). OSA is the most common form and occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat relax excessively, leading to a blocked airway. Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, happens when your brain fails to send the right signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
3. It Can Impact Your Oral Health
As a dentist in Carmel, IN, we’re here to emphasize the connection between sleep apnea and oral health. OSA can contribute to various dental issues, such as bruxism (teeth grinding), temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and even gum disease. Additionally, the continuous friction caused by snoring and restless sleep can lead to a dry mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems.
4. Risk Factors Extend Beyond Age
While sleep apnea is more common in older individuals, it’s essential to understand that it can affect people of all ages, including children. Factors such as obesity, a family history of sleep apnea, smoking, alcohol consumption, and certain medical conditions like diabetes can increase the risk. Identifying these risk factors and addressing them can contribute to better overall sleep and health.
5. Your Dentist Can Be a Valuable Ally
The dentists at Really Smile can play a crucial role in the identification and management of sleep apnea. We can work with sleep specialists to diagnose the condition and recommend appropriate treatment options. For some patients, a custom-fit oral appliance that repositions the jaw and tongue can help keep the airway open during sleep. This can lead to improved sleep quality and a reduction in related health issues.
If you suspect you or a loved one might be experiencing sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Really Smile. We would love to show you why we’re the most trusted Carmel, IN dentist.