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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dentistry and Sleep Habits – The Surprising Connection

It’s hard to imagine, but sleep and dental health are closely related! Read on to see what options are available to you to improve your sleep and oral health.

Snoring a problem in your household? Keeping your partner up at night? Dentists can fit you for an anti-snoring device. Anti-snoring devices help keep your tongue from blocking your airway, reducing noise. These devices also help adapt the position of the jaw to open the throat and prevent snoring. Snoring can prevent one or both parties from having an effective night’s rest, impacting other areas of their life including overall health, immune system, and job performance.
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Chronic snoring can also be a symptom of sleep apnea, a more serious condition that can be treated by a sleep apnea dentist. Sleep apnea causes breathing to become shallow or infrequent during sleep, and can be dangerous. There are many types of oral appliances available to improve sleep apnea, and are worth seeking out from a dentist if you suffer from this condition.

The act of sleeping itself is also essential to good oral health. During sleep, harmful bacteria are cleaned from the mouth and bloodstream, helping you maintain your overall health. A study revealed that among the most important factors impacting oral health, sleep was ranked second highest among factors affecting periodontal disease (after tobacco use). Those patients who reported 6 or fewer hours of sleep per night had more advanced disease.

While the connection between sleep and dental health isn’t obvious, it’s important! Make sure to visit a dentist if you have any concerns about your sleep patterns.