According to the National Institutes of Health, over 12 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. And loud chronic snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, and is probably one of the most identifiable indicators of potential breathing and/or airway problems.
While most chronic loud snorers are adult males, and usually at least somewhat overweight, but sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age. Here are some more possible airway obstruction factors that come into play, courtesy of WebMD.
Obstructed nasal airways: Partially blocked nasal passages require extra effort to transfer air through them while sleeping. This can pull together or collapse the non-rigid soft and dangling tissue of the throat, resulting in snoring. Some people snore only during allergy seasons or when they have a sinus infection. Deformities of the nose such as a deviated septum (a “crooked” wall that separates one nostril from the other) or nasal polyps can also cause obstruction and sleep problems.
Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue: Throat and tongue muscles can be too relaxed, which allows them to collapse and fall back into the airway. This can result from deep sleep, alcohol, and some sleeping pills. Normal aging causes further relaxation of these muscles and increases the potential for snoring.
Bulky throat tissue: Being overweight can cause bulky throat tissue. Also, children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore.
Long soft palate and/or uvula: One of the most common causes of snoring, a long soft palate or uvula (the dangling tissue in back of the mouth) can block the opening at the back of the throat. When these structures vibrate and bump against one another during sleep, the airway becomes obstructed and causes snoring.
If you never thought your dentist can help with sleep apnea or loud snoring, think again!
From oral appliances to night guards to Oral Systemic Balance® Therapy; your dentist can help.
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