Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

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Posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2021 at 3:43 pm    

Shutterstock 1093355033Sleep apnea is a condition that makes it difficult to breathe while sleeping, either because of collapsed tissues in the airways or the anatomy of one’s neck and nose. People who experience sleep apnea often wake up gasping for air throughout the night, and they usually feel groggy in the morning.

There are clear connections between sleep apnea and other health problems, such as increased levels of stress, daytime fatigue, and type 2 diabetes. But there is also a link between sleep apnea and oral health, especially as it relates to breathing through your mouth.

Sleep apnea has been linked to several oral health issues, including TMJ disorders, bruxism, and mouth breathing. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which connects the upper jaw to the lower one. People with TMJ oftentimes have jaw pain, problems chewing, and pain in their neck and shoulders. Doctors believe that TMJ and sleep apnea may be connected based on evidence from a 2013 study. The study found that people with sleep apnea were more likely to also suffer from TMJ.

Grinding your teeth while you sleep is a pretty common occurrence, affecting nearly 31% of all adults. Up to a quarter of these individuals suffer from sleep apnea. Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth, also called bruxism, can cause headaches and neck and jaw pain.

Because sleep apnea makes it so difficult to breathe, many people resort to breathing through their mouths at night. This can lead to dry mouth, which causes tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. According to an article from the Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology, about 60% of people with sleep apnea suffer from dry mouth or periodontal disease.

Contact Silent Night Therapy

If you are experiencing sleep apnea and are concerned about the effect it has on your dental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to Silent Night Therapy. Our sleep specialists will help you understand your sleep disorder and find a solution that is right for your lifestyle. Call us today to learn more about our at-home sleep tests at (631) 983-2463.