If you are experiencing daytime drowsiness, irritability and new dental concerns with seemingly no cause, you may be experiencing sleep apnea. Our Delta dentists share some of the ways that sleep apnea can negatively affect your teeth and what we can do to help.
Can a sleep disorder like sleep apnea really affect your teeth?
The effects of sleep apnea can do more than leave you feeling tired throughout the day, it can also have a serious impact on your oral health. While sleep apnea can cause a number of dental issues, did you know that oral health and dental conditions can also be the cause of sleep disorders?
When you sleep well it can help to prevent dental conditions from occurring and progressing as well as providing your body with the sleep it needs to stay healthy. If you have sleep apnea, the Implications might include:
Breathing with your mouth wide open.
If you have sleep apnea and therefore sleep with your mouth open and potentially snore you are at a higher risk of dry mouth which can lead to advanced dental decay.
Saliva plays an integral role in our mouth, which means a lack of it can be an issue as mouth sores and plaque develop and the gums become inflamed. Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontitis may also become more likely if you breathe with your mouth open while sleeping.
The development of dental disease and tooth decay.
The tooth decay that can occur when you sleep with your mouth open is a result of dry mouth as mentioned above but that is not the only risk factor. When you suffer from sleep apnea you may also grind your teeth while you sleep. This too can cause tooth damage and decay. As with most dental issues, oral hygiene can also indirectly contribute to this symptom.
Depression, anxiety and exhaustion are other conditions that sleep apnea sufferers often experience. When you are physically and mentally drained, you may also put less effort into caring for your body which can increase your risk of developing these concerns.
Grinding your teeth while you are sleeping.
The teeth grinding that we mentioned is also referred to as bruxism. This symptom involves grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. Some people may do these at any time of the day but they are more common when patients are sleeping. Grinding can have a negative impact on your sleep. You may notice you wake feeling unrefreshed. When you are grinding your teeth it can also lead to pain in your jaw, neck and shoulders.
Since teeth grinding typically happens when you are sleeping, you may not even be aware that it is happening. Your dentist may be able to let you know if they spot any of the symptoms during your regular exam. Signs can vary from chipped, cracked or fractured teeth to teeth with eroded surfaces or loose teeth. If your dentist sees symptoms, you may be asked if you experience muscle pain in your jaw, neck, head or face and dryness in your throat, lips and mouth when you wake.
How can our dentists help to treat your sleep apnea once you've been diagnosed?
Your dentists in Delta offer oral health solutions to patients with various needs. With regular dental exams and cleanings, we can help prevent tooth decay. By performing examinations and diagnostics, your dentists can help detect and manage dental concerns as they appear. In addition, we offer restorative and cosmetic services from bridges, fillings and root canals to veneers and teeth whitening to help your smile look and function better.