Once associated with being nothing more than a nuisance during the night time hours, snoring
has become a common issue for many people around the globe.
For a long time in medical history, snoring was never considered a serious medical issue, but in recent times studies have found it can be indicative of many disorders and can have a detrimental impact on sleep. And not just your bed partner’s sleep!
Of course, at this stage, you may be wondering why a dental based article is mentioning snoring. In many dental surgeries today, like Spa Dental Sydney, dental professionals are able to help those who snore regularly to improve their sleep and to identify any potential causes.
So, if you are fed up with being banished to the spare room, or waking up feeling tired and unrested, it may be time to contact a specialised dentist, who could be known as a sleep specialist to assess your situation.
Common causes of snoring
OK, so what exactly is snoring apart from loud noise?
Snoring occurs when your throat, tongue or airways that connect your nose to the oesophagus vibrate as you sleep. As your muscles relax when you fall asleep, these areas all become narrower, causing a more concentrated flow of air to go through them, thus creating localised vibrations.
Of course, not everyone snores, so why do certain people seem more predisposed to snoring? While genetics may play a role, many lifestyle factors impact on someone’s night time noise making, with alcohol consumption, smoking and weight being top predictors of your likelihood of snoring.
However, it is important to remember that health conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnoea and diabetes can also impact on whether a person snores or not, so when you are told you regularly snore, it is worth seeking medical advice.
What your dentist will look for
Your dentist will typically check your throat for signs of unusual growths which could obstruct the airway and will ask about your lifestyle.
If these investigations are unsuccessful, then you may be sent for a sleep study, to assess the impact your snoring is having on your REM cycle. Typically, in these cases, the cause of snoring is obstructive sleep apnoea, which can be life-threatening.
Long-term treatment options
If your lifestyle is deemed as the cause of your snoring, your dentist can advise you on how you can minimise your snoring, using diet, cessation options or therapies.
Alternatively, if you are diagnosed with sleep apnoea, your dentist may offer a custom-fitted mouthpiece to prevent obstruction of the airway as you sleep. In moderate to severe cases of apnoea, a continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP) machine may be prescribed, to ensure your airway stays open, while also providing you with a steady flow of oxygen.
All dental treatments carry potential risks. Contact your local dental team for more information about the procedures mentioned in this article.