If you snore every night, you certainly aren’t the only one! Millions of people snore on a regular basis; in fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, about 37 million people snore every night. Snoring not only disrupts sleep patterns, but it can also have significant effects on your oral and overall health.
People who snore frequently are more likely to wake up feeling exhausted, causing additional fatigue and stress throughout the day. The cause is environmental, such as seasonal allergies, excessive drinking, or irritated throat muscles due to smoking. For others, snoring could have physical causes, such as the unique shape of their airway, leading to chronic nasal issues and narrow airways.
Frequent snoring can have a direct impact on the quality of your physical, mental, and even your oral health. If you are regularly snoring, it may be time to discuss your snoring with your dentist. In the sections below, we’ll take a look at how snoring can impact your teeth and gums.
Snoring and your oral health
Before the inevitable rattle of snoring begins, there are a few key steps that occur within your mouth. The first step is that your airway becomes blocked by inflamed or irritated tissue. When that happens, your mouth opens wider to compensate for the blockage and allow additional air to flow through. As your mouth opens wider, your tissues contact each other and create friction in your nasal cavity, tissues, and tongue. This is what creates the sound of snoring.
Snoring is problematic for your oral health because letting more air into your mouth means that your salivary glands are working overtime to ensure that your mouth doesn’t dry out. This may work for a little while, but with prolonged snoring, your salivary glands will eventually fall behind and stop producing saliva altogether. This puts your mouth at risk for several common (but significant) oral health complications.
Your mouth needs consistent saliva production to ensure that your gums and teeth are properly nourished throughout the day and night. Saliva contains key minerals and proteins that protect tooth enamel. The minerals in saliva protect against erosion from acidic drinks and even helps remineralize enamel that has worn away.
Saliva also washes away harmful bacteria to fight back against bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. Without the right saliva levels, you are at a significantly increased risk of developing periodontal disease, halitosis, dry mouth, and cavities.
Stop snoring today!
The good news is that many snorers can take actionable steps to either significantly decrease their snoring or quit altogether. Try experimenting with these recommendations to see if they make a difference in your snoring regularity:
- Cut back or quit smoking
- If you typically sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side
- Decrease the amount of caffeine you drink throughout the day
- Limit your consumption of sugary, processed, or fried foods
- Decrease your alcohol consumption (especially before bedtime)
- If you are overweight, try to get on a weight loss plan and see if your snoring improves
As you work on decreasing your snoring regularity, don’t forget to keep up with your oral health routine. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure that your mouth stays hydrated, and don’t forget to floss, brush, and rinse with mouthwash twice each day.
If you are a regular snorer and are worried that your oral health might be affected, reach out and make an appointment with Blue Island Smiles. We can help you put together the best treatment plan to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy morning and night!