The Effects Of Sleep Apnea On Your Dental Health
You wake up in the morning still exhausted … even after sleeping for a solid eight hours. This makes you lethargic throughout the day and it can be a serious problem if you are driving, since your reflexes may be impaired. But there can be a lot of other issues caused by your poor sleep, including increased blood pressure and heart trouble.
What could be the culprit? Sleep apnea, which is when you stop breathing for periods of time at night, could be it. But your heart and blood pressure are not the only things that could be affected – your dental health could be at risk as well.
It might not cross your mind to mention your sleep patterns to your Washington Heights dentist, but it could make a big difference in how your visits go. Read on to learn more about sleep apnea and its effects on your dental health.
Dry Mouth Is a Big Concern
The problem with sleep apnea is that you will have your mouth open more often than not, which can then cause your mouth to get dry due to this. Your mouth needs saliva in it to wash away bacteria that could otherwise get onto your teeth and gums and then multiply and possibly cause issues like gum disease. If you do not catch this early, then you could wind up with an infection and lost teeth.
Having a dry mouth can really increase the chances of that bacteria growing in your mouth. Taking care of the sleep apnea will then allow your saliva levels to get back to normal over the course of the night and wash away that bacteria. It is definitely worth asking your dentist about at your next visit to see about a possible solution to this dry mouth issue.
Bruxism, Or Teeth Grinding Can Happen
When you have sleep apnea, it can make you grind your teeth. This is much more than just causing you to wake up with a sore jaw. Over time, you can weaken the structure of the tooth and cause it to crack. If this happens, you are looking at either a root canal or a dental implant. Your dentist can also create a custom mouthguard to keep your upper and lower teeth from touching while you sleep.
While there are other things that can cause bruxism, like stress, you should talk to your dental professional if you suspect that you have this condition. The earlier that you catch this, the better chance that you can prevent any long-term damage and take corrective measures, like changing your job if stress plays a part.
You Can Have Jaw Problems From Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
This disorder is where your jaw clicks. There are times when it may lock into place, called lockjaw. It is not something that should be taken lightly. Talk to your dentist if you feel this is happening.
You might not suspect it but your dentist is one of the first people that can possibly tell that you have sleep apnea – aside from a spouse who might notice your snoring each night.
They can see warning signs like a large tongue, a neck with a lot of girth, obesity,or large tonsils.
Should they notice these signs they can then tell you to talk to your regular doctor or even a sleep specialist who can then have you do a sleep study to formally diagnose sleep apnea. Your dentist can also discuss things like a CPAP machine, which pushes air through to allow you to continue breathing all night. They can even write you a prescription for the machine since they have the authority to do that.
There are other options, like a mouthguard that is similar to the one for teeth-grinding.
Sleep apnea affects millions of people each year – do not feel embarrassed if you are one of them. This is not something to ignore. Otherwise it could do damage to your health and it could damage your teeth.
Visit a Top-Rated Dentist In New York
Are you worried that you might have sleep apnea? Talk to one of Washington Heights’ dental specialists. The staff at Esthetix Dental Spa will be able to talk with you and help guide you through getting back to healthy sleep and healthy teeth. Give them a call today at 212-795-9675 to make an appointment!