Nearly all of us have snored at one time in our lives. Some of us snore every once in a while— like when you are overly congested from allergies—but others snore every night, on cue. In fact, more than 90 million of us are snoring as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
There are a whole host of reasons why you might be snoring. For example, if you’re snoring every once in a while, a stuffy nose or too much caffeine may be to blame. On the other hand, regular snoring might mean that you have a narrow airway, large tonsils, or chronic nasal issues.
Snoring here and there tends to be fairly manageable on its own, becoming more of a slight disturbance. But snoring each and every night can take its toll on your mental and physical health, causing you to wake up feeling groggy and tired (even after a full night of sleep). Did you know that snoring has a direct impact on your oral health, too? Keep reading to find out how snoring can affect the health of your teeth and gums—and what to do about it.
What Happens to Your Mouth When You Snore?
Snoring is caused by a series of events: first, your airway becomes either partially or totally blocked. Once that happens, your mouth opens a little wider to bring in more oxygen. As a combined result of the blockage and a wider mouth, your tissue, nasal cavity, or tongue begins rattling and creating that tell-tale sound of snoring.
Getting a little more oxygen while you sleep sounds like a good thing, but that’s not always the case. As your mouth is opening wider to get more oxygen, your salivary glands are working harder to keep saliva production up. The influx of dry air coming through your mouth makes this almost impossible, and your salivary glands stop producing saliva altogether. This is where your oral health gets put in jeopardy.
We all need saliva in order to wash away harmful bacteria and nourish our gums. Dry mouth (called xerostomia) is the culprit behind a host of oral health complications, such as bad breath, infection, gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Without the benefit of regular saliva production, your mouth is much more susceptible to disease and damage.
How to Stop Snoring
First, take a look at your lifestyle to see if you can make any helpful changes. If you are a smoker, try cutting back (or, ideally, quitting entirely). Changing your sleeping position may also help alleviate snoring, as can decreasing alcohol consumption or limiting your intake of sugary foods and caffeine. If you are overweight, shedding a few pounds may be all that you need to leave snoring behind for good.
While making lifestyle changes could make a difference, the path to a snore-free night isn’t always clear. The best thing for you to do is to consult with a doctor to help diagnose the root cause of your snoring and determine whether the cause is physiological. If your tonsils are too large, you may want to consider getting them removed. You could even be suffering from sleep apnea, requiring you to wear a mask in order to breathe properly while you sleep.
If you or your partner is routinely snoring, keeping up with oral hygiene is crucial. Along with drinking water to replace saliva loss, your best oral hygiene routine will include daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups. Even if you can’t stop snoring entirely, you can help manage its effects by ensuring that your mouth is as healthy as possible, day and night!
Worried that your snoring is impacting your oral health? Contact Caputo Dental in Naperville today to schedule a consultation!