The Canadian Community Health Survey revealed that an estimated of 2.2 million Canadians aged 15 and above had problems sleeping or staying asleep i.e. they have insomnia. In addition to the lifestyle choices, oral hygiene and healthcare plays a significant role here. It might be a little surprising to note that your dentist can help you sleep better by treating oral problems interfering with your sleeping patterns.
How Can Your Dentist Help You?
Your mouth is a gateway to your overall health. Everything that passes through your mouth is affected by your oral health. Healthy saliva detoxifies the food, neutralizes the acids, and helps prevent microbial infections. This is why; dentists recommend that a patient should always discuss the health and condition of their entire body. According to a report, tooth decay may lead to difficulties in sleeping, eating and communicating. Symptoms like jaw tension and swollen nodes may be the warning signs of a serious condition.
A person grinds or clenches teeth in this condition known as teeth grinding. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping, which results in tensed muscles and jaws, headaches, and earaches in the morning. If left unchecked, teeth grinding may lead to gum inflammation, bone degradation, and tooth fracture. To treat this problem, the dentists suggest custom-fit night guards that gradually limit and then root out the habit of teeth grinding.
Shallow or paused breathing, also known as sleep apnea, is one of the common sleeping disorders. First-degree sleep apnea lasts for 5-30 seconds whereas chronic sleep apnea may last for 30 minutes to one hour. Repeated sleep apnea may prove to be life threatening. Its early symptoms include dry mouth, lack of concentration, snoring, and loss of focus and memory. Extreme sleep apnea symptoms include chronic reflux, heart stroke, and ultimately heart attack.
Dentists recommend healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes for first-degree sleep apnea. For extreme sleep apnea, the dental treatment options include:
- Use of Tongue Retaining Appliances – Devices that restrict the tongue from blocking the airway.
- Use of Mandibular Repositioning Appliances – Custom-fit appliances that resemble a mouth guard, and prevents airway blockage and tissue collapse.
A snore guard is a type of tongue retaining appliances. The dentists recommend it when traditional sleep apnea solutions are not effective on a patient. It is a custom-fit device that brings the lower jaw forward. Snore Guard helps prevent tongue from blocking the airway or causing tissue collapse. It is easy to clean, portable, and effective appliance that resembles an athletic mouthpiece.
Insomnia or lack of sleep may lead to following extreme conditions.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
However, timely guidance from your dentist is helpful not only in improving your sleeping patterns but also in improving your overall health and lifestyle.