30 March 2017
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you’ll understand first-hand the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one. A bad night of sleep makes you grumpy and irritable and will see you reaching for caffeine and sugar just to find some energy. You’ll also find that it takes you twice as long to get work done. And then there are the extra strength painkillers you’ll be popping for the lingering jaw pain caused by grinding and clenching your teeth in your sleep…
If you’re reading this and nodding your head, you aren’t alone. SNORE Australia (a group that treats sleeping disorders) shows that around 9% of women and 25% of men in Australia suffer from sleep apnea.
When people suspect that they have sleep apnea (after being told they snore, waking up frequently during the night out of breath or experiencing any other commonly recognised symptom ) they head to Google for answers. They read that sleep apnea is more common in people who are obese, smoke heavily or take medication and make a self-diagnosis.
This can be a fatal mistake to make, as left untreated, sleep apnoea can drastically shorten your lifespan and increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and weight gain.
Not many people make the link between oral health problems and sleep apnea, but it does exist. This is good news as it means that you can head to your dentist and potentially cure your problem forever.
For many people, a poor bite relationship can be the cause of their apnea. The way that their lower and upper jaw is aligned means that during sleep their airway can become obstructed. This obstruction causes poor sleep and when the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that links your lower jaw and temporal bone is not aligned it causes muscle strain.
If you suspect that this might be something that could be the cause of your sleep apnea, we recommend that you visit your dentist right away as only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis. But the good news is that once you have an answer, you can start exploring your treatment options (most of which are affordable and non-invasive) and get the sleep you deserve.