Sleep Apnea Dentistry
Snoring, Sleep Apnea and Your Health
The raspy sound of snoring can be a lot more than an inconvenient habit. Habitual snoring affects about 25% of adult women and 40% of adult men. Snoring is the result of narrowing of the airway in the throat making the inhaled air move faster and with more pressure. This causes the tissues in the back of the mouth to vibrate resulting in that annoying noise. Heavy, loud snoring, even in children, can be a sign of a much more serious problem called obstructive sleep apnea
Sleep Apnea is a disorder in which breathing stops repeatedly during sleep. These breathing stops are called “apneas”. These apnea events last for 10-30 seconds each and can occur hundreds of times each night. During each apnea event, the blood oxygen levels drop significantly. The lower oxygen levels trigger your body to release chemicals including adrenaline to wake you up enough to start gasping for air and breathing again, and to speed up your heart rate to pump the oxygen faster. (Do you remember the “fight or flight” response from biology class?) You may not wake enough to remember it but your body and brain suffer each time it happens.
Knowing the signs of sleep apnea can save your life! Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of many diseases and premature death, heart attack, stroke, memory loss, depression, body pain, acid reflux (GERD), bruxism, teeth damage and diabetes. Recently in the news, it has been even mentioned as a cause of cancer. Sleep apnea also contributes to learning and attention deficit problems, daytime fatigue, increased sensitivity to pain, irritability, poor job performance and decreased libido.