Do you suffer from sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a condition that attributes to loud snoring. Your breathing also stops and starts due to a narrow or blocked airway when the throat muscles relax. This can also cause you to abruptly wake up and gasp for air.
Sleep apnea is a condition that should not be parked and ignored. Research suggests it can cause widespread health problems if it continues, and there are many adverse conditions that are linked to sleep apnea. It can be consciously difficult for those who suffer from sleep apnea to become aware of it. A partner or member of the same household are more likely to tell you. Although, there are certain signs that you should be able to observe when waking up in the morning:
- Feeling of fatigue during the day
- A lack of concentration
- Facial stiffness
- Dry mouth
Whilst these symptoms can attribute to other conditions as well, it is likely to attribute to sleep apnea. Consult your dentist as early as possible if you continue to experience these symptoms.
Sleep Apnea and Tooth Decay
Recently, studies have attributed sleep apnea to tooth decay. This is because sleep apnea causes dry mouth, and dry mouth stems from reduced levels of saliva production. Saliva is a vital property that maintains the health of hard and soft tissue, cleanses the mouth from bad bacteria and acts as a remineralizing ingredient for your enamel.
Low levels of saliva and bad bacteria are impacted by breathing through the mouth. When you wake up every morning, you will notice how dry your mouth is. This can cause acid levels to increase, exposing your enamel and leading to tooth decay.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
There are many different causes of sleep apnea. A person’s airway becomes blocked and subsequently, breathing becoming obstructed due to:
- Obesity or Overweight – Being overweight is the leading cause of sleep apnea. The airway pressure increases as you sleep due to the excess fat surrounding the face and neck. This can also block the airway entirely when the throat and tongue muscles become relaxed. This disrupts breathing and induces a choking sound when temporarily waking up. Read here to learn more about the link between your weight and sleep apnea.
- Head Position – The position of your head when lying down can impact the positioning of your neck, jaw and tongue. If the position of the head is tilted forwards, this can directly impact the airflow and temporarily halt breathing.
- Family History – Sleep apnea can also be a heritable condition. This means you’re at a higher risk of contracting sleep apnea if it has been passed down from a family member. Health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are common heritable conditions that can attract sleep apnea.
- Cigarette Smoking – Smokers are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea. It disrupts sleep cycles and can increase disordered breathing.
- Consuming Alcohol – Alcohol relaxes your body, including the muscles in your throat. This makes it more likely for the upper airway to collapse, leading to snoring and sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is not a condition that should be taken lightly. It’s a disorder that can lead to serious health conditions if untreated. Although the condition is most common in overweight people, the causes above means that anybody can suffer from it. If you wake up and experience fatigue, dry mouth, mood disturbances and gasp for air during your sleep, get seen to by the dentist as early as possible.
If you’re showing the symptoms of sleep apnea, contact our Chatswood dental team today by checking yourself in for an appointment.