Sleep Apnea And Dental Health

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Sleep apnea and dental health go hand in hand without you knowing it. Sleep apnea symptoms such as drowsiness may go unnoticed by you. But your dentist may be the first to spot the telltale signs of sleep apnea by how the condition impacts the health of your teeth and gums.sleep apnea and dental health

Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

The connection between sleep apnea and oral health is not always evident to you. Pains in your jaw, frequent headaches, and even tooth decay can be linked to sleep apnea.

TMJ or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are caused by a misalignment of the jaw. Your dentist may see this misalignment and ask about common symptoms such as neck stiffness and headaches or a popping or clicking when the jaw opens or closes. Movements of the jaw during sleep apnea episodes may cause this misalignment. One study found that people with OSA were twice as likely to have TMJ.1

Teeth grinding or bruxism is also common among sleep apnea patients. You may experience symptoms such as jaw or neck pain. Your dentist will notice wear on your teeth and receding gums as a result. Learn more about bruxism and sleep apnea.

Because breathing can be difficult for sleep apnea patients, they may also sleep with their mouths open. Mouth breathing can dry out the mouth cavity and reduce the role of saliva in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

Importance of Timely Diagnosis and Treatment

Dentists are becoming more aware of the link between sleep apnea and dental health. 2 Dental professionals may ask more questions about sleep issues during a routine dental exam if they notice certain oral problems. Because many patients may not realize they suffer from sleep apnea at all. Almost 80% of those with sleep apnea go undiagnosed.3 Identifying sleep apnea as a problem and treating it promptly may help avoid many dental health problems.

With sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, many oral health problems such as TMJ and teeth grinding may resolve on their own with time. While proper oral hygiene is still necessary for dental health, using a full-face mask during CPAP therapy can also prevent mouth breathing, which in turn can help reduce occurrences of tooth decay and gum disease.

Proper treatment of sleep apnea begins with diagnosis. Fortunately, at-home sleep apnea tests have made it easy to get accurate sleep apnea results without in-lab sleep studies.

How an At-Home Sleep Study Works

Take a free sleep assessment online.

Receive the at-home sleep test in the mail.

Follow the instructions and complete the test on your own schedule in the comfort of your own home.

Upload the sleep test data for review.

Receive follow-up results and recommendations from a board-certified sleep physician.

Where to Get an At-Home Sleep Apnea Test

Start your at-home sleep study today. Find home sleep apnea tests at Sleep Care Online, a simple, safe, and affordable way to get tested for sleep apnea at home. This service is available nationwide. Give us a call at 866.465.4478 if you’d like more information.

References

  1. Journal of Dental Research. J Dent Res. 2013 Jul; 92(7 Suppl): S70–S77.Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Risk of Temporomandibular Disorder.
  2. Clin Exp Dent Res. 2022 Feb; 8(1): 84–95. Published online 2021 Nov 17. doi: 10.1002/cre2.517. Oral health problems linked to obstructive sleep apnea are not always recognized within dental care—As described by dental professionals
  3. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Rising prevalence of sleep apnea in U.S. threatens public health.
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