Besides disrupting your sleep cycle and breathing pattern, sleep apnea can negatively affect your oral health. One of the first signs of sleep apnea is teeth grinding, which may be noticed during a dental checkup. Undiagnosed, teeth grinding can lead to a lot of problems.
TEETH GRINDING AND SLEEP APNEA
When you have sleep apnea, teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, may actually be a sign of your body trying to help you. When you are asleep and you grind your teeth, which requires moving the jaw, a signal is sent to your brain to wake you up and remind you to breathe. That is pretty amazing, but the results of teeth grinding are not. It can lead to the wearing down of tooth enamel, which in turn, makes room for bacteria to settle in, leading to tooth decay and cavities. Teeth grinding can also cause receding and inflammation of the gums. A dry mouth and sore throat are also often a result of sleep apnea, due to the mouth being open while snoring.
HOW TO PREVENT ORAL HEALTH PROBLEMS WHEN YOU HAVE SLEEP APNEA
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is extremely important to have regular dental checkups, so your dentist can keep a close eye on your gums, teeth, and overall oral health, looking for changes, pertaining to your sleep apnea diagnosis. There are remedies for dry mouth and teeth grinding that can be helpful, including mouth guards and stress reduction techniques, which you can discuss and agree upon between yourself and your dentist. At our office, we are always available to answer your questions, about your oral health, and sleep apnea. Working together with our staff, you can be confident your oral health is taken care of, even with a sleep apnea diagnosis. Call to schedule an appointment today!