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How Does Oral Health Affect Sleep?

sleep apnea dentist cohoes new yorkHigh quality sleep is an important element of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know how your oral health and sleep are related? The way your teeth and jaw are structured has a lot to do with your sleep, as problems in the mouth can make it harder for you to keep your airway open while you sleep. Cohoes, NY sleep apnea dentist Dr. Frederick Marra sees patients who are suffering from the effects of poor quality sleep and wants you to understand the connection between your oral health, sleep quality, and your overall quality of life.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea, abbreviated OSA, is a disorder characterized by an obstruction to the airway during sleep. It is often associated with obesity or excess weight, but the structure of your jaw and teeth can also contribute to an airway obstruction when in a sleeping position. Patients with sleep apnea often have dozens of instances per hour where they temporarily stop breathing while sleeping, and they often do not notice when it happens.

In addition to the scary thought of not breathing while you’re sleeping, sleep apnea limits the amount of oxygen the brain gets. The reduced oxygen to the brain stops you from receiving the restorative benefits of sleep, and contributes to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, higher cortisol levels, and can even put you at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

What Can I Do About My Oral Health to Treat Sleep Apnea?

Some sleep positions can make it harder for your body to keep your airway open while you’re asleep. Some oral health problems can make this more difficult, too, such as:

  • Wisdom teeth: When the wisdom teeth are trying to erupt in the back of the mouth, they often become infected or impacted, which results in swelling and discomfort. This added swelling in an area that already has soft tissue can cause snoring, making it difficult to breathe during sleep.
  • Overbite or jaw alignment problem: When the jaw is not in proper alignment, such as in patients with an overbite, the jaw sets even further backward, which can restrict airflow during sleep.
  • TMJ disorders: A TMJ disorder is often the culprit behind many oral health problems, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that TMJ and sleep apnea are often related. The complex system of muscles, ligaments, and bone that helps your jaw open and close is sensitive to any misalignments. Problems with the jaw can cause snoring, nighttime teeth grinding, and significant discomfort.

Cohoes, NY Sleep Apnea Dentist

Dr. Marra of Capital Region Complete Dental Care and Implants can help you get better sleep and improve your quality of life with advanced dental sleep apnea treatments. Schedule an appointment to find out how you can start getting better quality sleep.