f you wake up exhausted every morning, there could be a more serious underlying issue, such as a sleep disorder. We know that sleep apnea can make you more likely to have heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, and other health problems. But did you know it can also mess up your oral health? Sleep apnea can cause dental issues, and teeth problems can also worsen sleep apnea.

You might brush your teeth twice daily, before bed and in the morning, but bad sleep can contribute to various oral problems. Around 25 million adults in America have sleep apnea, but most of them don’t know it. If you’re struggling with loud snoring or can’t sleep well, talking to your dentist might help.

You know that sleeping disorders can highly affect your physical and mental health, but what about your oral health? Let’s find out.

So, What Exactly is Sleep Apnea?

Exploring the relationship between sleep apnea and oral health - Osseo Family Dental

It’s when your breathing stops or gets interrupted while sleeping, usually because your tongue or jaw blocks the airway. This can make you wake up partly because your body needs oxygen, and you might even snore loudly or feel like you’re choking.

However, many people who have sleep apnea don’t even realize it. They just feel super tired during the day, get headaches or feel tension in their jaw, or even have other health problems like high blood pressure or diabetes.

How Do I Know I Have Sleep Apnea?

Here are some signs and symptoms that you might have sleep apnea—

Common Causes of Sleep Apnea

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

Understanding the correlation between sleep apnea and oral wellness - Osseo Family Dental

1. Dry Mouth

When you have sleep apnea, your airway gets blocked, and you might gasp or choke to get air. This makes you open your mouth more to breathe better, making your mouth dry. Having a dry mouth might not seem like a big deal, but it can reduce the amount of saliva your mouth produces. If you don’t treat your sleep apnea, it can lead to cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.

2. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Have you ever been told you grind your teeth while you sleep? Bruxism or teeth grinding is common in people with sleep apnea because they might be trying to open their airways after their throat tissues collapse. Grinding your teeth a little bit might not cause too much trouble, but if you don’t use anything to stop it, it could permanently damage your teeth.

3. Gum Infections (Periodontitis)

People with sleep apnea might have a higher chance of getting gum infections, called periodontitis. Even though brushing and flossing regularly can lower your risk of gum infections, sleep apnea can make your gums more swollen and irritated, leading to more plaque and bacteria in your mouth.

4. TMJ

TMJ problems often accompany obstructive sleep apnea. The TMJ is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your upper jaw, one on each side of your face. When this joint or the muscles around it aren’t working properly, it can cause headaches, neck stiffness, earaches, and clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw.

A study found that people with sleep apnea were twice as likely to have TMJ problems compared to those without it.

5. Tooth Decay

People with sleep apnea often breathe through their mouths while they sleep because their nose passages are narrower and can get blocked more easily. Breathing through your mouth makes your mouth dry, which makes it easier for plaque, gingivitis, and gum disease to develop.

This is because saliva helps clean your teeth by washing away bacteria and food bits that bacteria love. While having gum disease or tooth decay doesn’t necessarily mean you have sleep apnea, it can be a sign, especially when other factors are considered.

Who is at a Risk?

Although sleep apnea can affect anyone, it’s more common in older men. Other things can also make you more likely to get it. If you often feel super tired or have headaches, toothaches, or jaw pain and you have any risk factors, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist.

Here are a few things to consider that can make sleep apnea more likely—

How to Prevent Sleep Apnea from Affecting Your Oral Health

Examining how sleep apnea affects oral health: Insights from Osseo Family Dental

Here are some simple ways to keep sleep apnea away from affecting your oral health—

By following these steps, you can help protect your oral health and reduce the impact of sleep apnea on your teeth and mouth.

Don’t Let Sleep Apnea Ruin Your Smile. Contact Osseo Family Dental Today!

Sleep problems can affect mental, physical, and oral health. It’s really important to get enough sleep so you feel good and stay healthy. If you or someone you know has problems with sleep apnea or grinding teeth at night, the experts at Osseo Family Dental can help.

Our dental professionals can also fix other oral issues caused by sleep problems, like gum disease, mouth sores, or worn-down teeth. Make an appointment today for a healthy mouth and a comfortable night’s sleep.

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