Sleep Apnea Treatment - Dental Chat

As people grow older, they may develop some sort of snoring problem when sleeping. Some people end up with a more serious condition called sleep apnea, in which a person can completely stop breathing while sleeping - which causes the person to usually wake up momentarily to be able to breathe.

If you wake up with headaches, wake up with a dry mouth and feel somewhat sleepy during the day - you maybe having some sort of sleep apnea?  If you have a spouse, they will notice this - and will let you know during the night. We will be discussing snoring and sleep apnea in this local sleep apnea chat discussion online. 

Common Local Snoring Online Question - Why do I snore more now as a older adult as compared to when I was younger?  Many people start to gain weight as they get older and lose muscle tone. Around the airways and throat, this can happen as well. By losing muscle tone around the neck, can cause this floppy tissue to vibrate when breathing while sleeping. Also, 

What is Snoring? 

Snoring is the harsh sound that is generated when air flows past the tissues of your throat when sleeping. As we discussed, loss of muscle tone is a big reason why people snore. As people age, many times the soft palate area becomes more likely to vibrate which causes a snoring sound. Snoring occurs since can not move air freely and easily through your throat and nose while sleeping. Many times it is caused by excess "floppy" tissue or due to loss of muscle tone. 

Snoring Treatment Questions

So what to do if notice are snoring more while sleeping. For one, make sure you are in good shape. Obesity is a big factor for people that snore and have sleep apnea. Stop smoking if you are a smoker and try to sleep on your side.  People that sleep on their side tend to snore less. There are many home remedies such as tumeric or honey before going to bed, though these may or may not work.  Also, people should check their nasal septum.

Those with nasal issues, sometimes a nasal strip or something like that may help. As always, it is good to get a fully physical check-up with your physician. Some people may choose a medical treatment called somnoplasty to remove some of the soft tissue in the airway region.

Sleep Apnea And CPAP 

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing while sleeping repeatedly stops and starts. Individuals are more at risk that are overweight/ obese. Sleep apnea is more common in men than women. A few symptoms of sleep apnea are; snoring loudly, feeling tired even after a full night's sleep, morning headache, difficulty concentrating, and/or waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat. Most treatments also should include lifestyle changes.

This would include such getting on a weight loss regimen, and the use of a breathing assistance device at night. This may include a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, and some other sleep apnea devices now available. Some people may want to do surgery and possibly get a tonsillectomy procedure - though, will need to get a thorough medical consult and proper treatment plan to do so.

Sleep Apnea

Lack of proper sleep can make people have physical and emotional problems. Some people, due to the lack of appropriate sleep - may end up dozing off during the day. This can be especially dangerous if one does this, when driving or doing a dangerous job. Local Sleep Apnea Questions we get asked is, does sleep apnea cause me to be more moody or can sleep apnea cause me to have depression? The dental sleep apnea answer to both of these questions is yes. Lack of good sleep can cause moodiness and for some people, cause a form of depression.

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is what causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs during your sleep when throat and tongue muscles are relaxed, the soft tissue can cause the airway to become blocked. This results in a sleep disorder where your breathing stops and starts throughout the night. This can be dangerous because an individual’s breathing could stop and not start up again.

So, what does having obesity or being overweight have to do with sleep apnea? People with excess weight or who are obese, tend to have more excess soft tissue of the mouth and throat. This can effect the airway passage area. 

Obesity and Sleep Apnea:

Many studies have shown that for adults with sleep apnea, many times they are very obese.  The airway passage area becomes more condensed with fatty deposits, which in turn puts more pressure in the area. The fatty deposits also cause decreased lung volume - this combination makes it harder to breathe. Of course, not all obese people have sleep apnea. Though it has been shown that  it is a major factor for sleep apnea. Of course, skinny people can still have sleep apnea as well.  Interestingly enough, people who get in better shape and become more fit - do show signs of reduced levels of sleep apnea. 

 What is a CPAP Machine?

CPAP stands for Continuous positive airway pressure, this method of therapy is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. A CPAP machine uses a hose and mask or nosepiece to deliver constant and steady air pressure. For people with sleep apnea, having this constant air / helping breathing constantly while sleeping is important. Since many times, people with sleep apnea, at times - for a very short period do not breath in air & which can make the person wake up shortly.

CPAP Machine Cleaning 

Keeping the CPAP machine clean is important and can be a little bit challenging for some. Now, some research has found - that by using UV light and activated oxygen or by using some kind of sanitizing solution to clean out the machine and tubes.

Common problems with CPAP Machine 

A decent number of people who start wearing the CPAP machine have problems with falling asleep due to feeling claustrophobic from trying to sleep with the mask. This many times is one of the biggest challenges people have with the CPAP machine.

Cons of CPAP

A CPAP machine, hose and mask that are not well maintained can lead to bronchitis, respiratory and sinus infections as well as pneumonia.

Other CPAP problems can include the CPAP mask being leaky, trouble falling asleep, stuffy nose and having a dry mouth.

Natural remedies for sleep apnea 

Although the CPAP works as a device in helping sleep apnea, the probable cons that come with it might make you strive for different solutions. Here are some dental solutions to consider, which may or may not work. Like any type of health care solution, one size does not fit all. Taking some basic steps such as eating better, may possibly lead to some good results. 

1.  Maintain a healthy weight

As we have discussed, being obese is a big factor in developing sleep apnea. Doctors commonly recommend people with sleep apnea to lose weight by staying fit and eating. Many studies have shown obesity and sleep problems sometimes can go hand-in-hand.  Upper body obseity for example, can increase the risk of airway blocking or airway obstruction,  which can narrow nasal passages and complicate breathing. These type of nasal and airway obstructions can cause you to suddenly stop to breathe for small lengths of time while sleeping, which can be dangerous. 

2.  Doing regular exercise and yoga.

By exercising regularly, you can increase your energy level, strengthen your heart, and possibly decrese the level sleep apnea. One type of exercise which has helped people is yoga. People who do yoga correctly, have been shown to possibly improve respiratory strength levels and encourage better oxygen flow.

3.  Alter your sleep position.

The way you sleep. Sometimes a small change of altering your sleep position can possibly reduce sleep apnea symptoms and improve your night’s rest quite a bit.  There are some studies that have shown that more than half of obstructive sleep apnea cases maybe dependent on the sleep position.

4.  Use a humidifier.

Some people need Humidifiers therapy. What is a humidifier? These are devices that simply add moisture to the air. For some people, dry air can irritate the body and the respiratory system. Using a humidifier can hopefully open your airways, decrease congestion, and encourage clearer breathing.

5.  Avoid alcohol and smoking.

Lifestyle changes can improve your health and encourage better sleeping habits. Those who do smoke should consider quiting. Reducing or quiting alcohol may also help to reduce sleep apnea complications.

Why alcohol - what does that have to do with sleep apnea? Consuming alcohol can relaxe the throat muscles, which in turn controls your breathing. This can lead some people to snoring, restless sleep characterized by an interrupted sleep cycle. It can also lead to inflammation in your airways, blocking your airflow.

Smoking can cause inflammation. Smoking tobacco can contribute to inflammation and swelling in your airways. This can worsen your snoring and your sleep apnea.

6.  Use Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Oral appliances can help with sleep apnea by repositioning your jaw or tongue to keep your airway open while you sleep.

There are a couple types of oral devices for this. The two major categories include the mandibular advancement devices and the tongue stabilizing devices. The tongue stabilizing device (TSD), works similarly to a baby pacifier, by holding the tongue lightly while sleeping.

The mandibular advancement devices (MAD) work by moving your lower jaw or tongue forward to decrease the obstruction in the back of your throat. The MAD devices are like a mouth guard, and go into both the upper maxillary & lower mandibular arch - and have a metal hinge that pushes the lower jaw slightly forward.

These appliances range from a low-cost, over-the-counter (OTC) option to devices that are custom-fit by a dentist. Having your local dentist do this, is a better choice - though, it may cost more? Live Sleep Apnea Question Chatting Online with us.  Have a Sleep Apnea Question - Post Your Snoring Questions Online at DentalChat.

Why is good sleep important for you?

Good sleep is extremely vital for your overall physical health, as well as emotional stability. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to many health problems. This can include an increased risk of heart disease, higher possibility of kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and possible stroke. Getting good sleep, especially the REM portion of deep sleep is very important -for children and adults. A good night's rest & sleep can do wonders for your physical & emotional well-being.