Sleep Apnea and Dentistry Is There A Connection?

Sleep Apnea and Dentistry Is There A Connection?

In a series of dental articles, the Saskatoon dental team at NEESH Dental share interesting dental information and education. In our latest post, we discuss sleep apnea. 

Sleep Apnea and Dentistry

Sleep apnea is a common and potentially life-threatening medical disorder that happens when your regular breathing is interrupted during sleep. This most commonly occurs when tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to organs including your heart and brain.Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, although men are more likely to develop the disorder.

There are two main types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – The more common form, it is the result of blocked airflow during sleep, usually when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses while you sleep. Health factors, such as obesity may contribute.
  • Central sleep apnea – Results from a problem with how the brain signals the breathing muscles. The airway is not blocked; instead the brain fails to signal the muscles to breath. Dentists do not treat this rarer type of sleep apnea which can occur with conditions such as heart failure, brain tumors, brain infections and stroke.

People with obstructive sleep apnea usually do not remember waking up during the night. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
  • Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
  • Morning headache
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Waking from sleep with a choking sound or gasping for breath

**Consult a medical professional if you experience shortness of breath or excessive daytime drowsiness.**

Diagnosis required
Based on your signs and symptoms, your physician may schedule an evaluation, or refer you to a sleep disorder physician or a dentist trained in sleep disorders. At a sleep disorder center, a sleep specialist may recommend a nocturnal polysomnography or home sleep test to measure heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns during sleep. Test results show a drop in oxygen level if obstructive sleep apnea is present, and a physician can prescribe an appropriate therapy. Proper diagnosis and treatment should involve a joint effort between a physician, sleep disorder physician and dentist trained in sleep disorders.

Treatment options
Treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea vary depending on the severity of the disorder. Lifestyle changes may be recommended to treat milder cases such as losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol or altering the sleeping position.

For moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea, other treatments, including continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) or oral appliances, are available. CPAP is a device which improves breathing while you sleep. It supplies air through the nasal passages to keep the airway open.

Oral appliances for obstructive sleep apnea look similar to an athletic mouthguard. They are designed to reposition the jaw and tongue to improve airflow. Dentists with training in oral appliance therapy are familiar with the various appliances and, in consultation with a patient’s physician, can determine, design, construct and fit an appliance to meet
a patient’s individual situation and condition.

This therapy could take several weeks to months to complete. It will include monitoring by the dentist to evaluate the response of the teeth and jaws to the treatment. In more  complex cases, surgical procedures performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may be necessary.

If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure, irregular heartbeat and heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Worsening of ADHD

A confirmed diagnosis is required from a physician before any treatment can be administered by your dentist. Because obstructive sleep apnea ca be a silent condition, it can go undiagnosed for several years. Talk with your physician if you have experienced symptoms to ensure your condition is identified and properly treated.

At NEESH Dental in Saskatoon, a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients.  Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal.  Our team of Saskatoon dentists and support staff try to always share interesting articles, dental facts and dental hygiene tips so you can take good care of your teeth. Contact us today to book a Saskatoon dental appointment.

Source article: https://www.wda.org/your-oral-health/patient-awareness/sleep-apnea

 

The Oral Health Benefits Of Xylitol

The Oral Health Benefits Of Xylitol

In a series of dental articles, the Saskatoon dental team at NEESH Dental share interesting dental information and education. In our latest post, we discuss the benefits of Xylitol on your oral health.

Why Would Dentists Recommend Xylitol Based Products?

Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars we eat. When you eat food containing ordinary sugar (sucrose), it gives bacteria on your teeth energy, allowing them to multiply and start making acids that can eat away the enamel on the teeth. This “acid attack” causes tooth decay and cavities to begin to form.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. It does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth. This is how it protects the teeth from tooth decay. With the dental benefits of Xylitol, the acid attack that would otherwise last for over half an hour is stopped.

Fewer Bacteria, Less Acid – Healthier Teeth!

Because the bacteria in the mouth that are causing cavities are unable to digest xylitol, their growth is greatly reduced. The number of acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 90%. No acid is formed because the pH of saliva and plaque does not fall. After taking xylitol, the bacteria do not stick well on the surface of the teeth and as a result, the amount of plaque decreases.

 

Repairing damaged enamel

Research has shown that the use of xylitol also helps repair damage to the enamel. Saliva in itself protects the mouth and teeth. Stimulated saliva, in particular, contains all the components needed to repair early cavities. If sugar is only taken a couple of times a day, the saliva can do the job alone. But most people take sugar so often that the mouth’s own defensive tools are not enough.

 

The dental benefits of xylitol also include saliva. Saliva that has xylitol is more alkaline than saliva stimulated by other sugar products. After taking xylitol products, the concentration of basic amino acids and ammonia in saliva and plaque may rise, and plaque pH rises as well. When pH is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts in saliva start to move into those parts of enamel that are weak. Therefore, soft, calcium-deficient enamel sites begin to harden again.

While reversing a rising trend of negative health and high health-care costs won’t happen overnight, improving your own health can begin sooner than later, and the dental benefits of xylitol can have a significant influence on that trend.

 

At NEESH Dental in Saskatoon, a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients.  Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal.  Our team of Saskatoon dentists and support staff try to always share interesting articles, dental facts and dental hygiene tips so you can take good care of your teeth. Contact us today to book a Saskatoon dental appointment.

 

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