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Common Sleep Breathing Disorders and How to Treat Them

If you or your partner have a sleep-breathing disorder, you probably aren’t getting the right amount of sleep each night. This could lead to more complications that can affect your overall health. Sleep breathing disorders are quite common. Roughly 40% of the adult US population suffers from some form of sleep breathing disorder. Whether you deal with mild snoring or sleep apnea, any disorder that affects your sleep isn’t easy. We are here to help!

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The good news is that your dentist may have a solution. Many of our sleep and breathing disorders are caused by mouth issues; be sure to ask the Southlake dental team about the following:   

Snoring 

Snoring is the most common sleep breathing disorder. According to Johns Hopkins, 45% of adults snore occasionally, and 25% snore regularly. Snoring is caused by obstructed breathing and is a harsh, sometimes loud sound that comes from the nose or mouth. It can be a nuisance to your partner causing him/her to lose sleep and can affect your concentration levels and daytime sleepiness.

Risk Factors 

There are several things that can cause a person to snore, but here are the most common. 

  • Mouth/ Sinus anatomy 
  • Alcohol consumption 
  • Allergies 
  • Minor Cold 
  • Weight

And of course, if you combine two or more of these factors, your snoring will be more significant and likely a bigger problem to both your health and relationship.  

Treatment 

If you experience snoring, here are some of the top treatment methods recommended before trying anything more complicated.

  • Losing weight 
  • Avoiding alcohol consumption close to bedtime 
  • Nasal congestion treatment such as Flonase
  • Getting enough sleep on a regular basis 
  • Avoiding sleeping on your back 

If you have tried the recommendations listed above and you are still experiencing difficulties, talk to your dentist about oral appliance therapy. Custom fit oral-sleep appliances are comfortable and fit like a retainer and can improve your snoring tremendously. 

If these measures do not improve your snoring, your doctor might suggest special oral appliances, a CPAP machine to wear while sleeping, or, in more severe cases, upper airway surgery.

Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea has more potential danger than snoring and is something to be taken very seriously. Sleep Apnea is a disorder that causes breathing to start and stop while asleep. It’s more common in men, and age and weight are two of the greatest risk factors. 

Causes 

While the muscles in your throat are relaxed, your airway closes up too tightly to receive enough oxygen, briefly waking you up. You likely won’t remember this, and it is common to snort, gasp, or choke when this happens. This can happen up to 30 times per night. People that suffer from sleep apnea are unable to get a good night’s rest.

Risk Factors 

Sleep Apnea has many of the same risk factors as snoring. Here are some of the most common. 

  • Excess weight 
  • Neck circumference 
  • A narrowed airway 
  • Sex-men are twice as likely 
  • Age- seen more frequently in older adults 
  • Use of alcohol or sedatives
  • Smoking 
  • Family history 

Treatment 

In mild cases of Sleep Apnea, there are simple answers for treatment such as losing weight or quitting smoking. However, for more severe cases, or cases that don’t improve after these measures, there are other forms of treatment. Sleeping with a CPAP machine, oral appliances, and supplemental oxygen are some of the first things your doctor will recommend for severe cases of Sleep Apnea. 

Some cases of Sleep Apnea can be treated with oral appliance therapy, similar to snoring. Talk to your dentist about trying this non-invasive, comfortable treatment option.

If you experience either of these sleep breathing disorders, speak to your doctor and dentist. Contact the Southlake team for any questions about sleep breathing disorders.