Getting a good night’s sleep is important for our overall health. But there are numerous things that can keep us from sleeping soundly, especially snoring. In fact, if you or your bed partner snore, there’s a good chance that you’re not getting enough sleep. But why does your dentist in Sparks care about snoring? The truth is, snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that not only keeps you and your loved ones from getting a solid eight hours of sleep a night, it could also mean that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen while you’re catching Zs. Sleep apnea occurs when someone stops breathing during sleep, sometimes up to 100 times a night! One of the most concerning parts about sleep apnea isn’t even the snoring itself, it’s the fact that you may not even know that it’s happening.
Types of Sleep Apnea
It’s important to note that not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea, that’s one reason why it can be so hard to diagnose. However, snoring is one of the most common signs of sleep apnea. There are two types of sleep apnea:
1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – The most common form of sleep apnea is the type called obstructive sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep due to the soft tissues in the back of your throat collapsing.
2) Central Sleep Apnea – This type of sleep apnea may not directly involve a blocked airway, but it does involve a problem with how your brain signals your breathing muscles. Oftentimes, the brain fails to signal the breathing muscles to breathe. Cases of central sleep apnea are more difficult to diagnose.
Snoring & Oral Health Concerns
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, roughly 90 million Americans snore. And, as we’ve noted, sometimes snoring is simply annoying and not caused by sleep apnea. But that doesn’t mean these primary snorers aren’t at risk. In fact, your dentist in Sparks may ask if you snore because it can affect your oral health. Snorers breathe out of their mouths instead of their noses which can quickly dry the mouth out and reduce saliva production. Saliva is crucial to maintaining good oral health as it neutralizes acids and helps rinse away bacteria. Without it, snorers may be at increased risk for:
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease
- Bad breath
- Tooth loss
If you wake up with a sticky mouth, dry mouth, or bad morning breath, you may be mouth breathing or snoring during sleep or have sleep apnea. Your dentist in Sparks, will encourage a visit to a sleep center and want to keep a closer eye on your oral health.
To combat any negative side effects of snoring or sleep apnea, you should always make sure to:
- Brush and flossing twice a day
- Drink plenty of water
- See your dentist in Sparks twice a year
Snoring isn’t something you should take lightly. If you’re concerned about your snoring, talk with your dentist about possible treatment options either from a medical doctor or dentist.
June plays host to Father’s Day every year. But June is also known as Men’s Health Month, which is a time to bring awareness to the importance of routine doctor appointments for all men. After all, men are less likely to get regular checkups with their medical doctor as well as their dentist in Sparks. These preventive appointments can catch potential problems early, before any symptoms even appear, and when treatment is often easier and more successful.
Protect & Prevent
Your dentist in Sparks recommends that everyone has a preventive dentistry checkup at least twice a year. And for a good reason. These appointments help your dental team keep a close eye on oral health, detect any changes, and remove tough plaque buildup that can’t be removed at home. When caught early, many oral health problems can be treated easily and before they have a chance to put the rest of the body at risk.
But, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, men are less likely to see their dentist regularly and rather only visit when they’re already having signs of a problem, which can be too late for some situations. Since many men forgo preventive dental appointments, they’re often at more risk for oral health problems.
3 Oral Health Problems That Are More Common In Men
While men are at more risk for several minor dental problems such as cavities, there are also some serious conditions that tend to affect men more than women.
- Gum Disease. Gum disease is a serious infection that starts in the mouth but can affect the rest of the body if not treated promptly. In fact, studies have shown a connection between gum disease and an increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, respiratory problems, and poor prostate health in men. Plus, gum disease can also cause tooth loss. According to The American Dental Association, around 34% of men ages 30-54 have gum disease as compared to 23% of women in the same age range.
- Oral Cancer. The second serious oral health condition that tends to affect men more than women is oral cancer. In actuality, men are twice as likely to get oral cancer than women and are four times more likely to get oropharyngeal cancer, cancer that affects the way back of the mouth. Oral cancer can be treated, but it’s crucial to catch it early before it has a chance to spread. Your dentist in Sparks will check for signs of oral cancer at each visit, which makes those six-month checkups even more important.
- The Need for Advanced Dental Care. Prevention is key to keeping teeth and oral health protected against serious dental concerns. However, when preventive appointments are missed, patients are more likely to need advanced dental care. What was once a probably easy and quick treatment may now require more complex care such as a root canal, dental crown, extraction, or dental implant. If you wait to see your dentist in Sparks until you have a problem, chances are the issue has already progressed to a serious level.
Even though everyone should visit the dentist regularly, men often need a bit of nudge to do so. But the benefits of bi-annual dental visits are immeasurable, so commit to seeing your dentist (and your medical provider!) regularly for routine checkups to protect your body before you experience a problem.