When we think of the effects of sleep apnea we typically think about the apparent effects such as those caused by restlessness and lack of good sleep, but what about how sleep apnea affects our teeth? Our Surrey dentists share some information about how sleep apnea can affect your teeth and how your dentist can help address these concerns.
Will Sleep Apnea Affect Your Overall Oral Health?
Beyond having implications for your general health, sleep apnea can also influence your oral health. While it can contribute to oral health problems, it's possible for dental issues to cause this common sleep disorder.
Good quality of sleep helps reduce the development and progression of periodontal disease, bad breath and mouth ulcers (not to mention it generally keeps you healthy), and a lack of quality sleep can significantly impact our oral health. Implications can include:
Breathing Through Your Mouth
A primary symptom of sleep apnea, mouth breathing can lead to dry mouth and tooth 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. Tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease) can also happen.
As mentioned above, mouth breathing can lead to dry mouth and tooth decay as a sleep apnea sufferer sleeps. Teeth grinding can also make your teeth more susceptible to decay. Poor oral hygiene can also indirectly contribute to this symptom.
Depression, anxiety and exhaustion are other conditions that sleep apnea sufferers often experience. These can cause you to be less invested in your oral health, resulting in poor oral hygiene and the significant plaque buildup that leads to tooth decay.
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, involves grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. While this may happen at any time, it often occurs while a sufferer is asleep. Grinding can have a negative impact on your sleep. You may notice you wake feeling unrefreshed. You may also have headaches and pain in your neck and jaw.
It's possible you may not even be aware that bruxism is an issue for you, but your dentist may detect symptoms during a dental 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 My Dentist Help?
Your dentists in Surrey offer oral health solutions to patients with a variety of needs. With regular dental exams and cleanings, we can help prevent tooth decay. Detecting oral health issues and problems is also a high priority. In addition, we offer a selection of restorative and cosmetic services from bridges, fillings and root canals to veneers and teeth whitening to help your smile look and function better.