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Can Sleep Apnea Cause Dental Problems?

A blonde woman sleeps on her stomach with her mouth open

Sleep is essential for your overall well-being and quality of life. Sleep that is frequently disrupted or otherwise of poor quality can contribute to a variety of problems, including issues with your oral health.

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Snoring is commonly associated with sleep apnea. Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Morning sore throat or dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Waking up gasping for air

Sleep Apnea & Dental Health

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), specifically, is often related to mouth breathing and subsequent dry mouth. Consistent dry mouth can lead to general dental discomfort, plaque, bad breath, tooth decay, mouth sores, and gum disease. General drowsiness and fatigue can also tempt you into slacking on your oral hygiene. Additionally, sleep apnea can contribute to teeth grinding as a stress response to being startled awake. Teeth grinding can result in worn, cracked, and broken teeth, and the need for restorative treatment.

Managing Sleep Apnea

If you don’t already know you are struggling with sleep apnea, its dental effects can usually be detected at a routine dental checkup. Fortunately, there are several tools that can treat your sleep apnea and protect your health.

For example, a CPAP machine or oral appliance can help open the airway for better breathing. Consuming a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing every day, and rinsing with a mouthwash specially formulated to combat dry mouth can also minimize sleep apnea’s negative effects on your oral health.

Sleep Better & Smile Bigger with Treatment at CarolinasDentist!

If you are experiencing any signs of sleep apnea, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at one of our CarolinasDentist locations. We can create a custom oral device to treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Our comfortable offices offer comprehensive dentistry, a variety of relaxing amenities, and affordable payment options. Please contact us today!

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