Sleep Disorders and Dentistry
THE DETAILS BEHIND SLEEP APNEA
While you sleep, all of your muscles relax, including those controlling your airway. Sleep apnea can cause your airway to collapse and restrict airflow by 80% or more. In some people, these interruptions to breathing can occur as frequently as 30 or more times within an hour, sometimes lasting ten seconds or longer.
When your breathing is obstructed, your tissues are not able to receive adequate oxygen. Your brain tells your body to breathe, which can cause you to wake up gasping for air. As this cycle repeats throughout the night, you may often wake feeling as though you have had little or no sleep.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
Estimates place the population of adults with sleep apnea at 17 – 20%. Unfortunately, less than 10% of those with sleep apnea have been diagnosed. More than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.
Studies have shown that nearly 50% of those with sleep apnea also have high blood pressure. Additionally, sleep apnea may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
WHAT CAUSES SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea may be caused by genetics, poor posture, allergies, enlarged tonsils, and other issues. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. This is caused by the collapse of airways in the throat and mouth during sleep.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES FOR A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
There are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing sleep apnea.
- Stop smoking – Smoking makes you 3 times more likely to develop sleep apnea.
- Maintain a healthy body weight – Overweight individuals have a higher risk of developing sleep apnea.
- Reduce Use of Depressants – Limit your use of sedatives, tranquilizers, and alcohol. These substances relax the muscles in your throat, which can lead to obstructive sleep apnea.
RECEIVE THE TREATMENT YOU NEED
Grove Avenue Smiles is experienced in treating sleep apnea conditions. If you regularly experience symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact your primary care physician for an appropriate sleep study. Once diagnosed, we can assist with treatment options.
Your treatment might include a mandibular advancement device (MADs). MADs are an excellent alternative to bulky continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. They are generally used for patients with mild cases of sleep apnea. MADs are similar to specialized mouth or night guards, which allow for your airway to remain open throughout the night.
Don’t spend another restless night struggling with sleep apnea. Relief is available. Contact our office to schedule a consultation today.