When we fall asleep, our bodies naturally begin to relax to help us recover from the day. But this relaxation can also lead to snoring and other sleep issues. For patients who suffer from sleep apnea in Monroe, NC, dental treatment could be available to help. Sleep apnea affects your oral health as much as your sleep cycles. Treating sleep apnea at your dentist’s office could help protect your teeth and gums while helping to improve your sleep.
What is Sleep Apnea in Monroe, NC?
As our bodies relax for sleep, the soft tissue in the back of our throats can shift as well. When it’s not held in place, this tissue can obstruct our airways, causing difficulty breathing while sleeping. Many patients who suffer from sleep apnea also suffer from snoring. Snoring is the body’s attempt to push air through the soft tissue and help you breathe. Some patients may also experience times when the lack of air forces them to wake up. All of these actions make it difficult for your body to properly rest, leading to fatigue throughout the day and many health concerns that come with lack of sleep.
Sleep Apnea and Your Oral Health
Sleep apnea can greatly affect the health of your teeth and gums, as well as the rest of your body. Your mouth will often try to help counteract the obstruction of the airways when you sleep. This, however, can lead to complications in many patients. There are two ways your mouth may react to sleep apnea, and each has its own dental concerns.
One way the mouth reacts to sleep apnea is by clenching the jaw together in an attempt to prevent further blockage of the airway. Clenching your jaw throughout the night can cause damage to your teeth as they grind together. The added tension on your jaw muscles can also lead to TMJ disorder. Patients who wake up with sore jaws, headaches, and other discomfort may be grinding their teeth at night.
While some patients may clench their jaw to improve breathing, others sleep with their mouths open to try and increase their airflow. This can lead to a sore throat when waking, but it can also lead to a dry mouth in the morning. While many patients find that dry mouth goes away throughout the day, it’s still doing damage during the night. Saliva is a crucial component of your oral health, helping to clear away plaque before it can build up on your teeth. When your mouth dries out during the night, your chances of developing decay or tooth enamel loss increase.
Dental Treatment for Sleep Apnea
If you do suffer from sleep apnea, you may not need a sleep specialist to see some relief. Dr. Leonard Hess may be able to provide you with a snore guard that can relax your jaw and help you breathe easier at night. Call our office today at 704-240-5045 to schedule an appointment and see if sleep apnea treatment is available for you.