Snoring occurs while we sleep. If you or someone you know is suffering from snoring or you are concerned about a sleep disorder, then you are in the right place.
This section will give you important information about snoring and sleep apnea.
What Is Snoring?
Snoring is caused by vibrations in the respiratory structure that occur when we sleep as the nose and back of the throat relax. When in this relaxed state, these areas also narrow, which results in the air getting restricted in the air passage. The obstruction is what causes the sound.
What Causes Snoring?
There are many reasons why we snore, including causes we can control and the ones we can’t.
Common causes of snoring we can control are:
Smoking – Smoking causes the airway to become inflamed and irritates the nasal passages.
Weight – If you are overweight, you may have extra fatty tissue in the neck area, which can cause snoring.
Medications – Some medications, such as sleeping pills, can cause inflammation and irritation in the nasal passage and airways.
Alcohol – Alcohol causes the brain to respond more slowly, and this relaxed state can cause snoring when we sleep.
Common causes of snoring that we cannot control are:
Age – When men hit middle age, they can have softer tissue around the neck which causes vibrations that result in snoring.
Medical conditions – Some medical conditions, such as a narrow throat or cleft palate, can result in snoring.
Allergies and Asthma – Both allergies and asthma can cause the nasal passages to swell.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring can be a sign of a serious condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. In mild cases, the airways only narrow and do not close, resulting in shallow breathing and loud snoring. In more severe cases of OSA, the airway can close fully and obstruct breathing, waking patients up to breath.
Discuss concerns with your doctor or dentist, who will refer you to a sleep study.
Who Is at Risk Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
This condition can affect anyone; however, people who are overweight are at a higher risk. This is due to fatty tissues around the neck. Men over the age of 40 are, particularly at risk. Patients who have enlarged tonsils can be at risk of OSA, which is common in children.
How Can Your Dentist Help with Snoring?
Your dentist can offer a variety of treatments for snoring.
One common solution is the Mandibular Advancement Device. This holds your lower jaw and tongue in place so your airway can remain open while you sleep.
Your dentist will discuss this with you if it is an option, and they can offer advice and treatment solutions.