While we all have occasional snoring episodes, persistent and chronic snoring can be linked to a much more severe condition: obstructive sleep apnea. As you drift into a deep slumber, your body and muscles naturally relax. This includes those in your neck and head. If these areas become too relaxed, it is even possible for the uvula (the small fleshy tissue hanging at the back of the throat) to partially block the airway, causing obstructive sleep apnea. Drs. Angela Rasmussen and Amanda del Cueto of Gentle Dentistry in Tampa, Florida, are dedicated dental professionals who can educate you on what is causing your snoring and ways to effectively stop snoring every night!
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF SNORING?
- Gasping or choking during the night
- Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure
- Noticeable paused breaths during sleep
- Restless sleep that causes excessive daytime sleepiness
- Dry or sore throat upon awakening
- Waking up with morning headaches
WHAT CAUSES SNORING?
Snoring might be caused by many different issues and conditions, including:
- Alcohol consumption
- The anatomy of your sinuses and oral cavity
- Deviated septum
- Nasal congestion
- OSA, or Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Narrow and restricted airways
- Sleeping position, as snoring often occurs when sleeping on the back as gravity affects the throat airways
WHAT ARE SOME FACTORS THAT CAN INCREASE SNORING?
Anyone of any age can snore. However, some factors to take into consideration include:
- Being overweight
- V-Shaped or constricted upper and lower jaws
- Family history of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea
- Large tongue, uvula, or tonsils
- Patients with large neck circumferences (more than 16”)
- Narrow airway
- Underdeveloped jaws (sit further back in the skull)
WHAT ARE MY SNORING TREATMENT SOLUTIONS?
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – if diagnosed with OSA
- Losing weight
- Oral Appliance Therapy – the use of a customized oral appliance that can properly position the jaw for open airways during sleep
- Sleep Test – this may be a Home Sleep Test (HST) or polysomnography that can rule out OSA or upper airway resistance syndrome
- Try sleeping during the night on your side instead of your back
- Surgery to address the upper airway
WHEN SHOULD I SEE A DENTIST ABOUT MY SNORING?
If you are noticing that you are experiencing sleepiness during the day, have difficulty concentrating, or if you are disrupting the deep sleep of your spouse or bed partner, give us a call today at (813) 734-7102 for an evaluation at Gentle Dentistry.
Getting the rest you need can improve your quality of life and your overall health!