Snoring occurs when an airway is partially or completely blocked while sleeping. When this happens, breathing becomes difficult and the mouth is opened to allow for more air to flow. This can cause a variety of dental problems that Dr. Jeffrey Allred and his dental team at Allred Dental can treat. Patients in San Marcos, CA who suspect that they snore or have sleep apnea can visit our dental office for snoring solutions that will benefit their oral health and hygiene.
Effects of snoring on oral health
When your mouth is left open while sleeping, saliva dries out. If this continues, the salivary glands will no longer work and you won’t have enough saliva for your mouth to stay wet. This is known as xerostomia, the lack of salivary flow. Saliva is needed in order to coat the oral tissues.
Xerostomia is one of the most common causes of gum disease and tooth loss in adults. Saliva is necessary in order to cleanse the mouth by washing the tongue, the cheeks, and the gums of dead cells. When these cells aren’t removed regularly, they create an odor and can lead to bad breath. Also, when there is little to no saliva, a burning sensation may occur, which can cause burning mouth syndrome.
When the mouth is dry, there is a pH imbalance that allows acid and plaque to accumulate and deteriorate tooth enamel. It can also create pits in the teeth that lead to cavities. When this is left untreated, bacteria can even affect the nerves and tooth roots, leading to the need for root canal therapy in San Marcos, CA. This also increases the risk of infection, too.
If you have a sticky mouth, bad breath, a dry tongue, or thick saliva, there are all signs that you’re not producing enough saliva. In more severe cases of xerostomia, your taste may change. Whether or not you’re a snorer or have sleep apnea, these dry-mouth symptoms are the first sign that you should visit Dr. Allred for dental treatment as soon as possible.
Snoring and sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs when regular breathing is interrupted while you sleep. It is common among those with sleep apnea, but not everyone that snores have the disorder. Those with large tonsils or tongues, small jaws, or a nasal obstruction such as a deviated septum are at risk for developing sleep apnea.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common form and is the result of blocked airflow. This occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses while you sleep.
Central sleep apnea: This occurs when the brain signals problems with the breathing muscles. The airway may not be blocked, but the brain doesn’t properly signal the muscles to breathe.
Snoring and oral health
While snoring doesn’t mean that you will lose your teeth, it does mean you have to be more diligent about your oral hygiene. One of the best ways to combat the mouth-drying effects of sleep apnea is to brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes. This will help clear bacteria overgrowth. Daily flossing is also important as this will remove bacteria that may grow at the gumline or in between the teeth.
Regular dental visits at Allred Dental allows Dr. Allred to check for cavities and if detected, to treat them at the early stage. This will help resolve any problems before extensive restorative procedures are necessary, such as a crown.
People who suffer from severe sleep apnea aren’t always the best candidate for a dental solution. A Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine may be a good choice. However, some patients are not good candidates because of other health problems. Dr. Allred can thoroughly examine you and learn about your medical history to determine whether or not you’re a CPAP candidate or not.
Allred Dental offers sleep apnea testing to help determine if you need an oral appliance. This device is used at home during a nightly sleep session and the results are sent to your physician, who then gives the approval for you to receive oral appliance therapy from Dr. Allred in San Marcos, CA. Oral appliance therapy is a custom-made device that fits in the mouth at night. It is comparable to a mouth guard. The difference is that instead of guarding the teeth against injury, it puts the jaw in a forward position to keep the airway open. Digital x-rays allow Dr. Allred to see your teeth, jaw, tongue, and airway clearly before creating your oral appliance.
Treating snoring with oral appliance therapy
Dr. Jeffrey Allred and the team at Allred Dental can help determine how snoring and sleep-related issues may be affecting your oral health. If you believe your snoring is becoming more of an issue and want to learn about the various snoring solutions available in San Marcos, CA, schedule a consultation at our dental office today!