We've already explored the symptoms of sleep apnea and how it can impact your overall health, but can this serious disorder affect your teeth? Our dentists in Vancouver explain oral health issues that may develop.
Can sleep apnea affect my oral health?
Beyond the implications for your general health, sleep apnea has a connection to your oral health — while it can contribute to oral health issues, this common sleep disorder can also be caused by dental problems.
Because good quality of sleep helps reduce bad breath, mouth ulcers, development and progression of periodontal disease and generally keeps you healthy, a lack of quality sleep can have severe implications for our oral health, such as:
Teeth grinding or bruxism involves a grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. While this can occur at any time, it often happens while a sufferer is sleeping. Bruxism can negatively impact your sleep and leave you feeling unrefreshed upon waking. You might also notice headaches and pain in your jaw and neck.
It's possible you may not even know bruxism is a problem for you, but your dentist may notice its symptoms during a dental exam. Signs can vary from eroded tooth surfaces and loose teeth to fractured, chipped or cracked teeth. If your dentist notices symptoms, you may be asked if you experience muscle pain in your head, face, jaw and neck, as well as dryness in your throat, mouth and lips when you wake.
Mouth breathing is a main symptom of sleep apnea, and it can lead to tooth decay and dry mouth.
Saliva has a critical role to play in our mouth, so a lack of it can be a problem as plaque, and mouth sores develop and gums become inflamed. Tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease) may also occur.
Tooth decay can be caused by dry mouth that results from mouth breathing while a sleep apnea sufferer sleeps. Teeth grinding can also leave your teeth more vulnerable to decay, or this symptom may be indirectly caused by poor oral hygiene. Anxiety, depression and exhaustion are other effects that sleep apnea sufferers often experience, and can lead to becoming less invested in your oral health, resulting in poor oral hygiene and consequently, plaque buildup that causes tooth decay.
How can my dentist help?
At South Granville Dentistry we are experienced in offering a variety of oral health solutions to patients with a wide range of needs. Regular dental cleanings and exams can help prevent tooth decay and we play a critical role in detecting oral health issues and problems. We also offer a range of restorative and cosmetic services from fillings, bridges, and root canals to teeth whitening and veneers to help your smile look and function better.