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Sleep disorders and how it can affect your teeth

sleepingSleeping disorders can cause various problems. Even though most of these disorders are diagnosed and treated outside the dentist’s rooms, there are some that are directly linked to a person’s mouth. Below we discuss some of these disorders and that you might want to see your dentist about.

Teeth Grinding

Also known as bruxism is a disorder that affects quite a few people around the world. Every person has had the occasional teeth grinding episode, but for those who constantly grind their teeth, they will end up with severe dental damage. There is no known cause for bruxism, but many believe that is caused by stress, drug abuse, pain in the neck and head area, side affect of some prescription medications, and abnormal teeth alignment.

It is not always necessary to treat bruxism, but is it advised to consult your dentist. The dentists might suggest doing some dental work in order to realign the teeth, or that you should be using a mouth guard, or he might even prescribe some medication to help relax the jaw muscles while you are sleeping. There are other methods of treating bruxism if the above mentioned suggestions do not work; they are stress management and behavioural therapy.

Obstructive sleeping apnea

This happens when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, which causes the soft palate to block a person’s airway and starts to affect breathing. When this happens the snoring starts, or you get a dry mouth, interrupted breathing, not enough good sleep, a painful throat, just to name a few. Dentists play a significant part in identifying obstructive sleep apnea. Believe it or not, a dentist usually picks up the obstructive sleeping apnea first because people go to the dentist more often than their general doctor. The dentist will be able to refer the patient to a specialist once he has identified the problem.

Bad breath is a common problem associated with obstructive sleeping apnea because of the dry mouth in the mornings. It is the norm for saliva production to slow down when sleeping, but add the dry mouth and this makes your mouth a playground for bacteria.

The good news is that obstructive sleeping apnea is treatable by either surgery, special sleeping equipment or a dental appliance. The dental appliance is the least invasive of all treatments, so it is advisable to ask your dentist for one if you are suffering from obstructive sleeping apnea.

Snoring

Every one of us has snored some time or another. It can be caused by sleep apnea, but also by some other things. Snoring can be the result of your sleeping position or from mucous in the nasal passages and even swollen nasal passages.

There are the cases where dental issues are the cause for snoring for instance how the mouth has developed over time, or how the teeth are orientated. Snoring more often than not causes dry mouth and can cause a painful throat. It also leads to restless or less sleep. This can be rectified by your dentist by realigning your teeth, or by using a dental appliance very similar to the one used with sleep apnea. If you are snoring and it is a problem, please consult your dentist.

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Please send us a message or call us on 010 492 7370 or 076 422 5456 in an emergency.

Please send us a message or call us on 010 492 7370 or 076 422 5456 in an emergency.

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