Loud snoring isn’t just a nuisance. It can wake you up throughout the night and contribute to a sore throat and morning headaches. The nighttime interruptions can leave you feeling less than refreshed in the morning.
Snoring can also be a warning sign of sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition that affects your breathing when you sleep.
Because a lack of good sleep can impact your health and quality of life, you may be eager to stop snoring, but how? There are several ways to address loud snoring, especially if sleep apnea is involved. One of those ways is dental care.
Below, Dr. Hinna Chaudhry and our team here at Ardsley Dental Spa in Ardsley, New York, explore how dental care can help treat loud snoring.
Snoring and sleep apnea
Occasional snoring isn’t harmful. In fact, many people snore when they have a cold or are congested. However, chronic snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that leads to frequent pauses in your breathing while you sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea, a common form of sleep apnea, happens when excess soft tissue blocks your airway. Air moving through a narrowed airway causes you to snore.
You might suspect your snoring is connected to sleep apnea if:
- You frequently wake up with a headache
- Your throat is often dry or sore in the morning
- You wake up gasping for air
- You wake up with a dry mouth (which also increases your risk of cavities!)
- You feel unrefreshed even if you “slept” for 7-9 hours
While snoring may seem harmless, sleep apnea can affect your overall health. Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart issues, such as high blood pressure.
How dental care can help with loud snoring
If obstructive sleep apnea is causing your snoring, Dr. Chaudry may recommend an oral appliance. Oral appliances for sleep apnea are similar to night guards (custom pieces worn to treat bruxism) in that you wear one while you sleep.
An oral appliance designed for sleep apnea holds your jaw in a forward position. Keeping your jaw slightly forward helps your airway stay open, allowing for adequate airflow. That not only helps treat sleep apnea but loud snoring too. Win-win!
In some cases, an oral appliance isn’t enough, but Dr. Chaudry can guide you through your options. In more severe cases, you may benefit from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or surgery to reduce excess throat tissue.
Dr. Chaudhry also provides lifestyle guidance to help you manage snoring and sleep apnea. She may recommend changing your sleeping position. Lying on your back can exacerbate snoring; sleeping on your side helps reduce snoring.
Other lifestyle modifications that address sleep apnea include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol before bed.
When dental care can’t help with loud snoring
Dental care can’t address snoring related to:
- A cold, sinus infection, or other sinus issues
- Central sleep apnea, a type of sleep apnea not caused by excess throat tissue
Snoring related to nasal or sinus issues is best addressed by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) provider who specializes in sinus conditions.
Central sleep apnea happens when your brain doesn’t send the right messages to your lungs to breathe. This results in pauses in your breathing. This type of sleep apnea is often treated with medication, breathing machines (such as a CPAP), or supplemental oxygen.
Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.
Say goodbye to snoring
Dr. Chaudry can help treat loud snoring caused by obstructive sleep apnea. To learn more, call us at 914-236-1617 or book your appointment online.