Snoring -- Is That All It Is?
Don't ignore snoring! It could be a symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a serious medical condition associated with heart disease and stroke.
Many dentists will make "snore appliances," but it is important to have someone specializing in sleep medicine fully evaluate you prior to using a dental appliance to treat snoring. Dr. Trish Braga has extensive training in dental sleep medicine and is one of only two State of Minnesota ABDSM credentialed Diplomates in Dental Sleep Medicine providing treatment in an AADSM Accredited Dental Sleep Medicine facility.
So many people snore, everyone thinks it's normal...
Not true. The first and most important step is to confirm that you suffer from Primary Snoring and not Sleep Apnea or some other sleep related disorder.
The sounds of snoring
The sound of snoring comes from the uvula, the back of the tongue and the other soft tissues of the throat flapping as air passes over them when you breathe during sleep. It's very much like the sound a flag makes when it waves in the wind. This can happen even when the tissues are normal size because when you fall asleep the muscles in the throat, soft palate and uvula relax. Airway blockage is the root cause of all snoring problems. When you snore, your airway is partially blocked by the soft tissues in the back of the throat, by the back of the tongue and by the soft palate and uvula. This causes a decrease of air flow to the lungs. A decrease in air flow causes a lack of oxygen to the brain.
At the very minimum, at least 30% of adults snore on a regular basis and up to 50% snore occasionally. Men snore more than women at a ratio of 2:1 but women do snore. Snoring increases with increasing age and increasing weight. Allergies, asthma, colds and sinus infections increase the risk of snoring. Drinking an alcoholic beverage before you go to sleep, being overweight, smoking or overeating all can make the problem worse as can some medications like muscle relaxants In some people simply sleeping on their back can cause snoring.
What about those over-the-counter or internet appliances?
—First, by reducing or eliminating the snoring sounds before you have a sleep study, you may be masking the first-alert warning that sleep apnea may be a problem. Many times the bed partner becomes aware of a serious problem when the snorer stops breathing many times throughout the night.
—Second, because these appliances do hold the jaw in an arbitrary forward position they may not only not solve the problem but can cause shifting of tooth position with subsequent problems of bite change and damage to the jaw joints.
—Finally, because these appliances are not adjusted by a trained professional and produce uneven results they can lead you to believe that professionally delivered oral appliances are not worth the time or money.
Is snoring harmless?
A 2008 study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine concluded that loud snoring itself can have devastating consequences. Loud snorers had:
• 40% greater odds of having hypertension
• 34 % greater odds of having a heart attack
• 67% greater odds of having a stroke than people who did not snore.