Sleep Apnea: How it Affects Your Teeth
Sleep apnea is a serious condition where a person doesn’t breathe properly while they slumber. This results in periods of not breathing at all, which is not only unhealthy for the brain or heart but unhealthy on a person’s oral health.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you need to let your dentist know. Here are some ways sleep apnea affects your oral health.
Many people who have sleep apnea also grind their teeth in their sleep. This is the result of the stress on the body as it struggles to restore oxygen levels.
When you’re a chronic tooth grinder, you wear down your tooth enamel by chipping, cracking, or actively breaking your teeth. You also put your jaw at risk with the constant pressure you put on these bones.
Acid reflux can be common in some people who have sleep apnea, particularly patients who are overweight. During rest, the stomach acids for digesting foods comes into the back of the throat and enters the mouth, eroding the dental tissue as a result. People with serious acid reflux often show signs of tooth damage on the backs of teeth where the acids are most prevalent.
Clenching the teeth tightly during sleep can cause the teeth to align poorly, which results in jaw pain, difficulty chewing, or even a locking jaw effect during waking hours.
Luckily, there are things your dentist can do to help keep your mouth healthy even if you are a chronic sleep apnea sufferer. Special mouth guards can be prescribed to help protect your teeth against grinding and clenching activities. Prescription toothpaste and remineralization treatments can also be done to help restore tooth enamel damaged by acid reflux.
If you have sleep apnea, notify your dentist. Even if you don’t feel you have any dental issues related to your sleeping condition, your teeth should be examined and given special care. Our dental team at Cherrywood Dental Associates are here to serve you; contact us today for a consultation.
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