Sleep Apnea and Your Oral Health

Sleep apnea affects about 25 million Americans or 26% of adults between the ages of 30 and 70 years of age and is considered a chronic disease. It can increase the chance of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, depression, and even oral health problems.


Sleep apnea is caused by collapsing tissues in the airway that lead to repeated breathing interruptions amid the sleep cycle. The tissues collapse because of weak airway muscles, obesity, sinus problems, a large neck, or other causes. This condition is dangerous because it stops oxygen from getting to the lungs.

Your Oral Healthsleep_apnea

Sleep apnea and oral health are more connected than most people realize. The disease can cause several issues with oral health, and vice versa.

First, individuals who suffer from sleep apnea most often sleep with their mouths open. This can lead to dry mouth, which can result in more plaque development, cavities, periodontal disease, and tooth decay. Mouth sores can also develop because of infections from dry mouth. Gingivitis, or gum disease, can result from this condition as well — studies show that 34% of people with sleep apnea also have gingivitis.

Treatment With Dental Care

While visiting a dentist regularly for routine cleanings and oral care treatments can remedy these conditions temporarily, the symptoms will return without treating the disease, which would be the underlying cause. If oral health issues are found to be the reason sleep apnea is occurring, treating those issues can then improve the negative associated effects.

Other connections with oral health include:

·      Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This can be associated with sleep apnea when symptoms include pain in the neck, head, and shoulders, jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and clicking or grinding joints, as well as a locked jaw.

·      Bruxism. Also known as teeth grinding or jaw clenching, bruxism symptoms include waking up unrefreshed with headaches, neck pain, and jaw pain. Signs include eroded, chipped, cracked, broken, or loose teeth. Dryness in the throat, mouth, and lips upon waking up is also a sign of bruxism.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Both children and adults suffering from sleep apnea may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

·      Clenching/grinding teeth

·      Pain and tightness in the jaw joints

·      Chewing on the inside of the cheeks that results in sore, raw spots

·      Dulled headaches with pain initiating at the temples

·      Snoring

·      Insomnia


A medical doctor should diagnose this type of disease and can then prescribe treatment such as a CPAP machine. Dentists can also treat oral symptoms with a dental mouthpiece that can manage the clenching and grinding of teeth while sleeping. Other sleep apnea symptoms can be alleviated via orthodontic treatments for dry mouth and misalignment, as well as regular dental health management.

Get in Touch With Lans Family Dentistry

To learn more about how oral healthcare can improve a sleep apnea diagnosis, contact Lans Family Dentistry. The experienced and caring professionals at Lans Family Dentistry can answer all your questions and schedule a consultation or a regular dental cleaning appointment.


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