How Does Sleep Apnea Related to Dental Health?
Sleep apnea - a breathing-related sleep disorder characterized by repeated disruptions in normal breathing that can last from a few seconds to over a minute – can have a big impact on your health. It can increase your chance of developing high blood pressure and your risk of having a heart attack. It can also result in daytime drowsiness that makes you inattentive when driving and at work, which can lead to serious safety issues. But did you know sleep apnea can also have a significant impact on your dental health? If you have untreated sleep apnea, you should be aware of these dental complications that may occur.
Tooth Damage from Grinding and Clenching
Bruxism – a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth when sleeping – is more likely in sleep apnea sufferers. Nearly a quarter of all obstructive sleep apnea patients also experience bruxism. If you are grinding your teeth at night, you may wake up with your jaw and molars feeling sore or temporarily loose. Your teeth become cracked or damaged.
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinged joint that allows you to open and close your mouth. TMJ disorders and jaw pain are quite common in people with sleep apnea. It can impact your quality of life and your well-being. If you wake up experiencing jaw pain or if it hurts to open or close your mouth and you suffer from sleep apnea, you should get in touch with your physician.
Whether it’s from the damage from grinding or just from breathing through your mouth and drying it out so that the protective layer of saliva is not there to protect your teeth, people with sleep apnea are more prone to cavities.
Leaving sleep apnea untreated can lead to several health complications, including dental health. If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea or UARS, it is important to see a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine in order to properly diagnose and treat your condition. Dr. Malhotra is a board-certified sleep specialist in CT, who is known for diagnosing and treating all kinds of sleep disorders. Call (203) 422-7940 today, or schedule an appointment using this form.