Sleep Apnea Symptoms and How To Know If Your Oral Health Is To Blame

Has your sleep been interrupted a lot lately by your breathing?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects breathing while sleeping due to a blockage in the airway. If you wake up restless with tight jaw muscles and sensitive teeth, that may be what is keeping you up all night. It is important to understand what some sleep apnea symptoms are to navigate whether an issue with your oral health may be the cause.

The National Sleep Foundation has found that approximately 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. Luckily, there are ways to treat it. Here are the common sleep apnea symptoms and how to determine whether your oral health is the cause:

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms actually differ during the night and day. Untreated sleep apnea at night can be potentially dangerous. Some people can stop breathing multiple times during the night because the brain, and the rest of the body, is not receiving enough oxygen. Here are other common nighttime sleep apnea symptoms:

  • Loud, consistent snoring
  • Choking and/or gasping for air 
  • Restless sleep
  • Frequent bathroom visits

These are the common daytime sleep apnea symptoms:

  • Headaches in the early morning
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Sleeping during daily routine or work

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) Linked to Sleep Apnea

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is the grinding and wearing down of teeth on a regular basis. This condition occurs for various reasons and one of them is due to sleep apnea. Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth at night and only become aware when told by their dentist or from the pain in their jaw and teeth. Teeth grinding is potentially harmful, because it wears down the teeth, damages them and can lead to breakage. It can also cause inflammation in the gums or bleeding and block airways at night.

Large Tonsils Or Tongue Linked to Sleep Apnea

Enlarged tonsils are a fairly common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children. Children with tonsils that have not been removed are more susceptible to having their airways blocked. Approximately 79% of children have tonsillectomy surgery to treat sleep apnea and have had a resolution. The treatment is to have the tonsils removed to reduce tonsillitis episodes and tonsil growth. 

During sleep, the muscles in one’s body become relaxed, and that includes the tongue. Those with larger tongues are actually more likely to develop sleep apnea, as the increased tongue fat is blocking airways. The tongue fat impairs the muscles function so it cannot move away from the airway.

If you are unsure whether you are suffering from sleep apnea, book a consultation with Belman Dental Centre and we will give you your answer. Our team of high-quality dental technicians takes steps to improve the situation and ensure you get a good night’s rest. We offer a custom fit dental device for your mouth to prevent grinding and reduce snoring to relieve sleep apnea issues. Request an appointment with us to get started today.

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