What is Sleep Apnea?
Those who suffer from sleep apnea repeatedly stop breathing during sleep because of a blockage in the airway. Soft tissue in the back of the mouth or throat collapses, blocking the airway and restricting oxygen flow. Patients with sleep apnea may snore loudly or repeatedly wake during their sleep gasping for air.
We have listed the main reasons that sleep apnea will affect your dental health:
- Dry Mouth
- Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against tooth decay. It washes away food debris, neutralizes destructive acids caused by bacteria and helps keep the soft and hard tissues of the mouth in good condition. Sleep Apnea (and the snoring that often comes with this condition) can dry out the mouth. When this happens, there is not enough saliva to provide and distribute much-needed disease-fighting organisms in the mouth. When allowed to continue untreated over time, dry mouth can lead to oral bacterial infection, bad breath, and other dental problems.
- Teeth Grinding
- Most people who suffer from sleep apnea also have a tendency to grit and grind their teeth while they sleep. Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, can damage the enamel (outer surface) of your teeth, which weakens them and can hasten tooth decay. Bruxism has also been known to lead to other medical problems such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ disorder can cause tension headaches, pinched nerves, and spontaneous or increased pain from carrying out normal activities.
- Tooth Loss
- When left untreated for an extended period, sleep apnea can dry out the sockets of your teeth. This, especially when coupled with teeth grinding, can loosen your teeth and cause tooth loss over time.
- If you suffer from Sleep Apnea, know that this condition affects your oral health as well. Treating sleep apnea goes a long way in improving your overall dental health.
To learn more about innovative treatment options for sleep apnea offered by East Market Dental, contact our office to schedule a personalized consultation. We welcome new patients from communities around Fairfax, Centreville, Chantilly and Reston, VA. To request a consultation, call our office at (703) 291-0198 or request an appointment online.