Snoring can significantly impact your overall quality of life, and can be a sign of other issues, and it can also have a far greater effect on your quality of sleep than you might have imagined.
Anyone who snores regularly should have a medical appointment to talk through the issue and try to get to the cause of the problem. It should be taken more seriously than just being a bit of unwanted noise at night.
A trip to your GP might be a sensible first option for a diagnosis, but there can also be help at hand via your dental surgery if you are aware that you suffer from sleep apnoea.
Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnoea, where the tissues in the neck “collapse” during sleep, which automatically leads to the sufferer waking up with a start and often a loud snore.
Several of these incidents can occur every night, yet the person suffering from sleep apnoea is not aware of anything other than waking up feeling devoid of energy and more than just a little tired.
The symptoms include snoring, excessive tiredness and other characteristics that go with long-term fatigue – irritability, anxiety or depression and forgetfulness among them.
Seeing your GP would be the first step to diagnose sleep apnoea, but treatment could well then be through a dentist.
We would make a specialist mandibular advancement device.
This is a bespoke mouth guard that fits comfortably over your teeth but holds the lower jaw and tongue forward, preventing the temporary collapse of tissue that leads to the sudden waking.
Even if snoring is not a sign of sleep apnoea, there are still side effects of snoring that a dentist can help with.
Since snoring has a person sleeping with their mouth open, this can lead to dry mouth due to the lack of saliva which in turn leads to bad breath.
It has also been linked to other issues such as burning mouth syndrome and even gum disease. It is only by having regular check-ups that early signs of any gum issues can be spotted.
This is important in making sure the relatively minor and easily treatable gingivitis does not progress into the far more problematic periodontitis – full blown gum disease that leads to the loss of bone.
Snoring can also lead to teeth grinding – the National Sleep Foundation claims that nearly one in four people with obstructive sleep apnea grind their teeth at night.
This again might mean that sleeping wearing a specialist mouth guard is recommended to avoid damage to the teeth.
There are further tips on the sleep foundation website.