We’ve all had the misfortune of sleeping next to someone who snores.
You swear that the sounds coming out of their mouth are the same ones that come from jet engines preparing for takeoff.
While it can be tempting to brush off snoring as an annoyance or even a “quirky trait,” it can have long lasting (and in some cases, deadly) effects.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is the sound of the structures in your throat partially blocking your breathing. Air attempting to pass through makes the structures vibrate. If you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your breathing is totally blocked until low oxygen in the brain wakes you up and has you literally gasping for air. This happens over and over all night long. If left untreated, this puts huge and dangerous stresses on your body.
How is snoring bad for me?
Studies have proven that if left untreated, snoring can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even heart failure and stroke. Snoring can also be the cause of upper airway resistance syndrome and OSA, which are often linked to additional serious risks.
If you snore and you’re not getting a good night’s sleep because of it, the consequences can be more severe than a little bit of grumpiness until you get your morning coffee. Getting behind the wheel of a car while you’re exhausted means you’re just as dangerous to yourself and others as someone who is drunk. Driving while drowsy accounts for more than 20% of accidents in Canada.
How can I tell how bad my snoring is?
Since you’re sleeping, you don’t know how bad the problem actually is. Experts recommend asking the person who shares your bedroom to grade how bad your snoring is.
Grade 1: Heard only if you put your ear close to the person.
Grade2: Heard inside the bedroom.
Grade 3: Heard just outside the bedroom if the door is open.
Grade 4: Heard outside the bedroom even though the door is closed.
How can I finally get a good night’s sleep?
If you’ve tried everything you could think of, including surgery to remove the excess tissue in the back of your throat, and CPAP machines, it’s easy to feel hopeless. But don’t give up just yet. The one thing standing between you and a restful sleep could be something as simple as a thin, comfortable mouthpiece.
Oral appliance therapy is a safe and effective way to treat snoring. Your dentist will fit you with an oral appliance that looks like a mouthguard similar to the ones you’d wear while playing sports. Only in this case, you wear it while you’re sleeping. It helps to keep the soft tissues at the back of your mouth from collapsing so that you can breathe freely and quietly.
Most patients who use them find them comfortable and convenient. Unlike bulky CPAP machines, they’re easy to use. In fact, many people report only needing a week or two to get used to wearing it. The appliance’s small size also makes it a breeze to use and pack when travelling.
In order to get the best results, visit a dentist with experience in treating snoring and the problems associated with it. They will be able to help you choose the best appliance for you from over 40 choices on the market today. Dr. Andrea Stevens
has experience in fitting these oral appliances properly and teaching patients like you to use them effectively so that you can get the sleep you deserve.