Staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, trying desperately to sleep: nobody enjoys it, but we’ve all been there.
You likely know the ramifications of poor sleep; being unable to focus at work, strain on your heart, increased risk of obesity and, of course, a negative impact on your oral health.
How is Sleep Related to My Oral Health?
It’s true: your oral health is tied directly to your overall health and vice versa. If you have poor oral health, your overall health will suffer.
You might think sleep apnea is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, or that you need to see a sleep expert to treat your obstructive sleep apnea. However, you have the power to improve your sleep and oral health – then maintain it – with the help of your holistic dentist at Top Down Dental.
A 2017 National Institutes of Health study found an association between oral health and sleep disorders. Participants with sleep disorders had a greater level of gingival inflammation, and gingival inflammation can put you at an increased risk of heart disease.
A Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research study looked at the effectiveness of treating obstructive sleep apnea with myofunctional therapy, a type of physical therapy that targets the muscles in the facial muscles, especially those that are involved in chewing and swallowing. Myofunctional therapy decreased the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea by 50 percent in adults and 62 percent in children.
Shocked? You shouldn’t be; holistic dentists surely aren’t!
How Do I Treat My Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Just like every person is different, every case of obstructive sleep apnea is different, and that means treatment is unique, too. If you’re having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or you’re experiencing symptoms like snoring, headaches upon waking or feeling drowsy during the day, it may be time to call in the experts. Dr. Nehawandian will help you improve your sleep apnea and set up a treatment plan for you.
Just a few ways your holistic dentist will help you get better sleep include recommending you:
- Lose weight. If you are obese, you’re more likely to experience sleep apnea, though obesity is not always an indicator or cause of sleep apnea. Shedding some pounds may alleviate pressure contributing to your obstructive sleep apnea.
- Maintain a better sleep schedule. Are you going to bed after you already feel exhausted? If so, you may be getting into such a deep sleep that your throat muscles are relaxing, too, cutting off the airway.
- Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake. Smoking and drinking, especially falling asleep soon after drinking heavily, can worsen sleep apnea.
- Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back can throw your spine and neck out of alignment, making it harder for you to breathe while you sleep. Studies show that back sleepers are more likely to experience sleep apnea than side sleepers.
- Get an oral appliance. Appliances are fitted to your teeth and keep your teeth apart, preventing bruxism and opening the airway.
If none of these options are working for you, our dental office may recommend you schedule a sleep study. The results of the sleep study may indicate that you need a CPAP machine or surgery.
Stop Staring at the Ceiling
If you’re sick of staring at the ceiling until 3 a.m., waking up with a headache or your partner is tired of listening to your snoring, we can help set you on a path toward better sleep and improved oral health.
To talk with an expert about your sleep woes and receive professional recommendations, please schedule an appointment at Top Down Dental in Los Gatos by calling (408) 354-5600 today.