Although snoring is a normal part of sleeping, when it happens consistently and is excessively loud, it can underscore a larger issue — one that has detrimental health effects. If you or a loved one snore at an alarming volume, and it is persistent, you may suffer from a condition known as sleep apnea. In today’s blog, your Overland Park, KS dentist discusses the causes of and solutions to sleep apnea.
What Exactly Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea, or OSA, is usually caused by a blockage in your airways while you sleep. In the case of OSA, the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much, which can cause to you stop breathing momentarily. This causes your brain to quickly wake and you gasp for breath, interrupting your sleep cycle. Interestingly, you likely won’t be aware that you’re waking up, but you still are. This cycle of falling asleep and briefly waking up can happen hundreds of times each night. Unsurprisingly, this wreaks havoc on your sleep, causing excessive tiredness. When you regularly get less than seven to nine hours of sleep a night, you start to lose cognitive function, and your mood often sours. Moreover, it can weaken your immune system, making you much more susceptible to becoming sick. If you constantly wake up tired despite seemingly getting enough sleep, you may suffer from OSA. Ultimately, obstructive sleep apnea can cause problems that affect your overall health and your personal and work life.
The two primary methods for treating OSA are a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine and a custom mouthguard. The CPAP works by gently providing a constant stream of air through a small mask into your airways, preventing them from relaxing excessively and closing while you sleep. While this is effective, it is a relatively loud, cumbersome device. If you travel, it could be a hassle to carry around with you. On the other hand, custom a dentist-made sleep guard can provide similar results without the bother of an external machine. It fits in your mouth like a mouth guard you would see in sports, and it keeps your lower jaw positioned forward to keep your airway open. When you see your dentist about your snoring, they will work with you to find the best solution for your specific needs. You can feel free to ask them during your twice-yearly checkup and cleaning.
Contact Us To Learn More About Snoring And Sleep Apnea
If you suffer from excessive snoring, or you are constantly waking up exhausted without knowing why, it is time to contact Family First Dental in Overland Park, KS by calling 913-381-2600 today. We look forward to hearing from you soon.