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A Closer Look at the Link Between Sleep Apnea and Gum Disease

February 4, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — cosleepap @ 9:48 pm
a man snoring

Sleep apnea is a common condition that robs millions of patients of their sleep every night—and what’s worse is that many cases remain undiagnosed and untreated! But lost sleep isn’t the only issue that it can cause; believe it or not, it can trigger many other problems, including gum disease. Keep reading to learn more about sleep apnea and how the condition can sometimes result in gum disease, along with a few tips for managing both and improving your quality of life.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea, often abbreviated as OSA, is characterized by blockage of the airway during sleep, often caused by the soft tissues of the throat closing. It causes patients to stop breathing periodically throughout the night, meaning they must wake up to normalize their breathing. Needless to say, this can result in significant sleep loss, since these episodes can occur hundreds of times in a given night!

How Does Sleep Apnea Contribute to Gum Disease?

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a variety of issues, such as cardiovascular illness and diabetes, but believe it or not, it can also trigger gum disease. This is because OSA often causes patients to breathe through their mouths, rather than their noses, while they’re sleeping.

Mouth breathing decreases your mouth’s flow of saliva, causing it to dry out—and since your saliva is your body’s first line of defense against cavities, that means harmful oral bacteria will have an easier time setting up shop inside your mouth. As they multiply, your risk of gum disease increases tenfold.

What’s worse is that patients with sleep apnea also often tend to suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding. This condition can cause the teeth to become worn down or move them around. As these teeth become more mobile, the surrounding gum tissue can loosen and pockets can develop, which are nice hiding spots for nasty bacteria.

What Can I Do?

Knowing how sleep apnea and gum disease are linked will make it much easier to manage both conditions; however, there are many things you can do to assist on both fronts. Here are some useful tips:

·        Seek sleep apnea treatment from a trusted professional; oral appliance therapy and CPAP machines are two common avenues of treatment.

·        Address other causes of sleep disruption: light entering the room, warmer temperatures, pet dandruff, etc. can all contribute to lost sleep.

·        Practice excellent oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily, in addition to receiving routine preventive care to manage gum disease symptoms.

·        Avoid poor oral habits like smoking or using tobacco products, in addition to consuming alcohol before bed; these practices can also disrupt your sleep!

About the Practice

The team at Downtown Denver Sleep Solutions has proudly served patients in Denver and the surrounding area for several years, offering numerous sleep apnea treatment solutions for patients struggling to achieve adequate rest. If you have any questions about the blog or you’d like to arrange an appointment for you or someone you know, feel free to contact the practice online or over the phone for additional information or assistance. Telephone: (303) 377-5337.

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