Did you know that sleep apnea affects more than just how rested you feel? This condition can also cause ongoing dental concerns, especially if left untreated. Our Surrey dentists talk about how sleep apnea can affect your teeth and what the typical concerns may be.
Can Sleep Apnea Affect the Health of Your Teeth?
Beyond having implications for your general health, sleep apnea can also influence your oral health. While it can contribute to oral health problems, it's possible for dental issues to cause this common sleep disorder.
Good quality of sleep helps reduce the development and progression of periodontal disease, bad breath and mouth ulcers (not to mention it generally keeps you healthy), and a lack of quality sleep can significantly impact our oral health. Implications can include:
Open Mouth Breathing
Dry mouth and advanced tooth decay are two conditions that can develop and worsen due to open-mouth breathing in sleep apnea sufferers.
Saliva plays an integral role in our mouth, which means a lack of it can be an issue as mouth sores and plaque develop and the gums become inflamed. Tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease) can also happen.
Advanced Tooth Decay
When you sleep with your mouth open it leads to a dry mouth which is known to cause dental concerns to develop more quickly. Another issue that can cause damage to your teeth while sleeping is teeth grinding. Poor oral hygiene can also indirectly contribute to this symptom.
Depression, anxiety and exhaustion are other conditions that sleep apnea sufferers often experience. These can cause you to be less invested in your oral health, resulting in poor oral hygiene and the significant plaque buildup that leads to tooth decay.
Grinding Your Teeth
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, involves grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. While this may happen at any time, it often occurs while a sufferer is asleep. Grinding can have a negative impact on your sleep. You may notice you wake feeling unrefreshed. You may also have headaches and pain in your neck and jaw.
It's possible you may not even be aware that bruxism is an issue for you, but your dentist may detect symptoms during a dental exam. Signs can vary from chipped, cracked or fractured teeth to teeth with eroded surfaces or loose teeth. If your dentist sees symptoms, you may be asked if you experience muscle pain in your jaw, neck, head or face and dryness in your throat, lips and mouth when you wake.
How Your Dentist Can Help You
Your dentists in Surrey offer oral health solutions to patients with various needs. With regular dental exams and cleanings, we can help prevent tooth decay. By performing examinations and diagnostics, your dentists can help detect and manage dental concerns as they appear. In addition, we offer a selection of restorative and cosmetic services from bridges, fillings and root canals to veneers and teeth whitening to help your smile look and function better.