Discover How Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Dental Health

dentist in newberg

Weird but true: your dentist in Newberg could be the first to know if you have a sleep disorder.

Because it’s associated with issues like snoring and poor sleep quality, you may not realize that sleep apnea can also significantly impact oral health.

The Sleep Foundation estimates that 10-30% of the United States population has sleep apnea, and many cases go undiagnosed.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder marked by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. These interruptions, known as apneas, can occur multiple times per hour and last for several seconds to minutes. As a result, sleep apnea leads to fragmented, non-restorative sleep, significantly affecting overall health and quality of life.

There are two primary types of sleep apnea:

• Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): The most prevalent form of sleep apnea, where the airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep. Muscles in the throat relax excessively, causing the soft tissue at the back of the throat to collapse and block the airway. People with OSA often snore loudly and experience periods of silence during sleep, followed by gasps or choking sounds as they attempt to breathe.

• Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): The brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing, leading to pauses in breathing or abnormally shallow breathing during sleep. CSA can be associated with other conditions, such as heart failure, stroke or the use of certain medications.

Both forms disrupt the natural sleep cycle, leading to symptoms such as excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, irritability, impaired concentration and a heightened risk of accidents. Sleep apnea can also contribute to long-term health issues like hypertension, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

Sleep apnea can manifest in various oral symptoms.

Dry Mouth: Sleep apnea can lead to reduced saliva production, contributing to dry mouth. That’s not only uncomfortable, but it increases the risk of dental problems. Waking up with a dry mouth regularly is a sign to get checked out.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Some people with sleep apnea may experience bruxism, a condition where they grind their teeth during sleep. The resulting tooth damage and pain is often the first sign of sleep apnea. That’s why Dr. McLeod, your dentist in Newberg, might be the first to know if you have a sleep disorder — and another important reason to schedule regular visits.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease: Dry mouth and teeth grinding can contribute to gum inflammation and periodontal issues. Left untreated, periodontal issues are the leading cause of tooth loss.

Tooth Decay: Reduced saliva production can also elevate the risk of tooth decay, as saliva plays a vital role in protecting tooth enamel.

Comprehensive Dental Care in Newberg, Oregon

Addressing sleep apnea not only improves your sleep but also contributes to better dental health, overall health and well-being.

Trust Newberg Family Dental to help you on your journey to a healthier, more restful life. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve improved oral health.

If we haven’t seen you for a while, make your appointment today. Your health will thank you.