Struggling with snoring and sleeplessness? Call your dentist.
The first sign of sleep apnea is often tooth grinding. Dentists look for worn tooth surfaces, a sign that a patient grinds his or her teeth. Grinding can cause tooth wear and breakage as well as inflamed and receding gums. A spike in cavities can also be a sign of grinding because the force damages teeth, making them susceptible to cavity-causing bacteria.
At night while sleeping, as you tense your jaw and grind your teeth, it sends a message to your brain to wake up so you can take a breath.
Grinding is just one oral health sign of sleep apnea. A small jaw, tongue with scalloped edges, or redness in the throat (caused by snoring a lot, which is another symptom of sleep apnea) also signs.
Gasping for breath causes people to wake up repeatedly, which diminishes sleep quality and causes fatigue. Sleep apnea is linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Please, note, your dentist is well trained to the signs of possible sleep apnea, however only a medical doctor can diagnose this. Therefore you can ask your dentist the following:
Is a night guard enough?
If you’re wearing a mouthguard through the night, it might be time to see a specialist. A custom-made guard can reduce grinding and the cavities, headaches, and jaw pain it causes, and it can also help with sleep apnea.
Is my periodontal disease a sign of a bigger problem?
If there’s a lot of decay, it could be a result of grinding and sleep apnea, however, it is not necessarily linked.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
Chronic snoring is the most common sign of sleep apnea. Other symptoms include daytime drowsiness, waking up with a dry mouth, or a sore throat and morning headaches. If you have any of these symptoms, inform your dentist. See a medical doctor for further diagnoses.
For all your dental needs, visit Corne Smith Dentistry in Cape Town Claremont.