Uncovering the Link: Oral Health and Sleep Apnea

There is a complex connection between oral health and sleep apnea. We can help improve your sleep!

Approximately 12% of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, equaling roughly 29.4 million people. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by intermittent breathing during sleep, hindering sleep quality and increasing the risk for coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. This sleep disorder is common in middle-aged and older men but can affect anyone regardless of age and gender.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, contact The Dental Anesthesia Center. There are several sleep apnea treatment options available.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a sleep disorder where the tongue muscles and muscles around the throat relax abnormally, partially blocking the airways. This obstruction causes loud snoring and limits the amount of oxygen entering the body, increasing the heart rate and jolting you awake. Constantly waking up compromises your sleep quality and affects your overall quality of life.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is caused by anything that can cause the narrowing of your airways. This includes excess fat deposits near the throat, enlarged tonsils, and hormonal changes. You can also suffer from central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t signal the lungs to breathe properly while asleep.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The most obvious signs of sleep apnea are excessively loud snoring and waking up intermittently at night. Other signs of sleep apnea include chronic fatigue, drowsiness, morning headaches, and dry mouth. The psychological symptoms of sleep apnea include mood swings, depression, irritability, and a lack of concentration.

Does Sleep Apnea Cause Diabetes?

Yes, sleep apnea, if left untreated, can lead to type 2 diabetes. That’s because a lack of sleep affects your body’s capability to produce insulin and absorb blood sugar. This causes severe insulin resistance, leading to compensatory hyperinsulinemia and eventually type 2 diabetes.

Does Sleep Apnea Cause Hypertension?

Yes, sleep apnea can cause hypertension. Studies show that 90% of patients with hypertension have obstructive sleep apnea. This could be because both hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea are caused by obesity. Fat deposits around the throat obstruct the airways, causing OCS, while fat deposits in the blood vessels narrow them, leading to hypertension.

Do Dental Devices Treat Sleep Apnea?

The dentist will recommend various dental devices for your sleep apnea, like custom mouthguards. These mouthguards mitigate symptoms of sleep apnea but don’t necessarily treat it. They work by positioning the mouth to keep the airways open while asleep.

Let Us Treat Your Sleep Apnea

Untreated sleep apnea could lead to more severe and even life-threatening complications. The earlier you address your sleep apnea, the better your chances of sidestepping these complications and living a happy and fulfilling life. Contact The Dental Anesthesia Center today to discuss your sleep apnea treatment options.

Call Us Today

The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologist in Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.

Call (314) 862-7844
Updated: October 24, 2023

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