Sleep apnea is a condition that may repeatedly cause you to stop breathing during sleep. Usually, your body will realize you’re not breathing, and it will jolt you awake so breathing can resume normally.
There are several reasons why sleep apnea occurs, and if you have it, you may not even realize it. But your sleep won’t be restful, and you may feel tired or irritable the next day as a result. Sleep apnea can also affect your oral health in several serious ways. It’s important to get a diagnosis if you think you may have sleep apnea, and it’s equally important to keep regular appointments with your dentist in Sugar Land, TX, to help you get out ahead of any dental problems caused by this serious sleep disorder.
Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Teeth and Gums
Sleep apnea sometimes happens because the tissues of the mouth relax too much during sleep. As a result, your airway becomes more narrow, and it becomes more difficult to breathe. Sometimes, a person who suffers from sleep apnea may unknowingly clench their teeth in the night to prevent over-relaxation of the mouth tissues. Constantly clenching, grinding, or gritting your teeth can cause them to crack or wear down prematurely, resulting in toothaches and increased cavities.
Many who struggle with sleep apnea also sleep with their mouths open. This causes the tissues of the mouth to become overly dry. Dry mouth may lead to a buildup of bacteria on the teeth and gums, which can contribute to gum disease.
Additionally, sleep apnea is sometimes linked to TMJ disorders that can cause jaw ache and migraines.
What Can Your Sugar Land, TX, Dentist Do?
Roughly 18 million people in America suffer from sleep apnea, and it’s often their dentist who notices the first signs. Teeth that are worn down, an unusual number of cavities, and redness in the back of the throat may all be indicators of sleep apnea. Your dentist can recommend further treatment, such as a sleep study, to help alleviate your symptoms. They may also fit you for a night guard that you can wear while sleeping.