Causes of Snoring

When sleeping, the muscles and soft tissues in the throat, mouth, and nearby the trachea are relaxed.  This relaxation shrinks the airway, hence increasing the breathing’s airflow velocity.  And with increased velocity comes a vibration of the soft palate and uvula.  This vibration is commonly known as “snoring” or “deep breathing” or “sleep apnea.”  A snore guard may be used to treat the snoring.

Harmful Effects of Snoring

Over 160 million people in North America snore, children and adults included.  Snoring not only disturbs the sleep cycle, but it can cause difficulty in breathing.  This struggle for breath can raise blood pressure, which can in effect damage the carotid arteries and raise the risk of stroke.

Depending on the severity of the snoring, the soft tissues adjacent to the airways along with the tongue can cause partial or complete blockage of the airway in the trachea.  If this blockage lasts for greater than 10 seconds, it is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

How to Prevent Snoring

Your dentist and physician may recommend surgery to remove soft and hard tissue structures that impair respiration and inspiration.  This surgery generally shows a success rate of up to 40%.  Surgery however is considered invasive and is usually a last resort for sleep apnea.

Another method your dentist may recommend to prevent snoring is via a snore guard.  A snore guard is a custom made dental appliance that moves the lower jaw forward relative to the maxilla (upper jaw).  By moving the lower jaw forward, it increases the space in the trachea (airway tube), thus reducing the velocity of air expelled during breathing, and also reduces soft tissue vibrations.  In wearing a snore guard, an upper and lower component is worn and connected via a connector.

If you feel you snore or have sleep apnea, we can help determine if a snore guard is right for you.  Call us at (425) 614-1600 if you have any questions on snoring and its effect your oral and systemic health.

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