Clipboard that says sleep apnea, sleep apnea and oral health, oral appliance

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

November 3, 2023 9:00 am

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. While it’s often associated with disrupted sleep and breathing difficulties, what’s less known is its significant impact on oral health.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by intermittent pauses in breathing during sleep. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), where the throat muscles relax and obstruct the airway, leading to brief awakenings throughout the night. Subsequently, these interruptions can result in a poor night’s sleep and a range of health problems.

Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

Sleep apnea can impact oral health in many ways:

    Dry Mouth and Saliva Reduction

    One of the lesser-known side effects of sleep apnea is dry mouth. Frequent awakenings due to breathing difficulties can lead to mouth-breathing, which dries out oral tissues. Reduced saliva flow can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva is essential for washing away food particles and regulating the mouth’s pH, both crucial for oral health.

    Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

    Additionally, teeth grinding, or bruxism, is often linked to sleep apnea. The stress and adrenaline spikes associated with repeated awakenings can lead to unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth. This can result in tooth enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, and even cracked or chipped teeth.

    Gum Disease

    People with untreated sleep apnea are at a higher risk of developing gum disease and periodontitis. The chronic inflammation and reduced oxygen levels in the bloodstream associated with sleep apnea create an environment in which gum disease can thrive.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Petaluma, CA

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the oral health risks associated with sleep apnea. At Alma Dental Care, Dr. Serrano and our team provide oral appliances like nightguards and treatments like dental cleanings and more. If you suspect you have sleep apnea or experience these oral health issues, get in touch with our office to see how you can protect your smile.

Contact Us

Categorised in: