Snoring and you. What to know.
What about snoring?
Snoring is a pretty common thing. A thing that is often loud, and often keeps those in our immediate vicinity awake and wishing us snorers were in a different room, or bed. I snore, and my significant other very often wakes up from some terrible dream about zombies with sinus infections (because of my snoring), and tiredly asks, “Are you a zombie?” with a slight quivering voice. With calm reassurance, I softly say, “No, I’m not a zombie…just a snorer.”
There are many like me. In fact, snoring has been seen to affect approximately 90,000,000 American adults. That’s a lot of decibels, from a lot of snoring. Snoring is essentially loud breathing when you are sleeping. It occurs when your breathing becomes partially blocked which forces your lungs to inhale much harder to compensate for the lack of air flow. The sound of snoring is what occurs when this fast, forced air squeezes by the soft palate and your uvula, causing them to vibrate against each other. Snoring occurs because as you fall asleep, your muscles start to relax, this causes your tongue to relax and fall back in your mouth. Your throat also becomes kind of “floppy”. This relaxing of the muscles, and your tongue moving back in the mouth is what allows that vibration to occur.
What can a dentist do about it?
Dentists are obviously well known in the field of dental and general oral health (teeth, gums, TMJ), but it may surprise some that we may also be able to help with their snoring problems. That’s right! Now, you may be wondering how exactly we plan to help you snorers out there. Well, let me go over it!
In our office we can make specific appliances, worn in the mouth, that are designed to keep the airway open so snoring does not occur as much, or at all. As mentioned above, the reason snoring occurs is the relaxation of your muscles, and the subsequent partial blockage of air from your tongue moving towards the back of your mouth. The appliances themselves, are used (in various ways) to keep the jaw, or tongue, from moving back when the muscles in the body relax. The airway is therefore kept open, and snoring is reduced.
What can snoring do to your health and well being?
A little known fact about snoring: it does affect your health and well being to one degree or another. In fact, snoring can result in an increased risk of the following:
- High blood pressure.
- Increased risk of stroke.
- Cardiovascular disorders.
- Heart failure.
- Daytime fatigue.
- Memory issues.
Some of these can be directly traced to trouble sleeping. Those who snore often also have trouble getting deep sleep, as the body is continuously working harder to ensure air is being inhaled, and your body is getting the oxygen it needs. I can attest to some of these. The daytime fatigue even though you should feel well rested, problems remembering, etc. These are because I hadn’t had sufficient DEEP sleep. In fact, you may not even be aware that you are continuously waking in order to clear the air passage, or are struggling for more oxygen. Along the same vein, you may not even be aware that you DO snore, but if some of these other signs are present, it may mean that you do.
If you are having issues from snoring yourself, or if your significant other is keeping you awake at night, I recommend at least having a consult with the dentist to see if there are some options for you.
I wanted it to be noted that there are differences between those who occasionally snore and habitual snoring, in terms of their effects. Obviously, the more severe and frequently one snores, the more potential adverse effects will arise.
Let us see if we can help you sleep better, and more sound.
Stay healthy my friends.
You can find out more about snoring from this NIH affiliated website, as well as this Sleep Foundation website.