Sleep disorders are very common in the United States, and two of the most prevalent of these center around our oral health. These concerns can both be harmful immediately and in the longer term, so their maintenance is crucial at feeling and being your best. Bruxism refers to the grinding and gnashing of the teeth and can cause major wear to the enamel. The other primary dental concern overnight is sleep apnea, where you momentarily stop breathing due to an obstruction in the airway.
While both of these conditions can lead to serious (and sometimes life-threatening) results, you might be able to avoid damage. At our Seattle, WA office, our dentists can help determine if a nightly-worn mouthguard may be helpful to you. These soft guards can reposition the location of the jaw to keep your airway free. Guards also create a cushion to protect your enamel from the repeated collision of bruxism. If you struggle with the quality of your sleep, being proactive can help you avoid serious health concerns in the future!
Bruxism Affects Alignment And Enamel
One of the most destructive unconscious habits that humans have is known as bruxism. This term refers to any unconscious collision of the jaw, and it can occur at any time. Just like many people will bounce their knee or tap their fingers, clenching and grinding the teeth is a very common outlet for the brain. During the day it might be possible to limit the extent of this activity. Overnight, however, it can lead to major damage.
Initially, a concern comes from dental erosion. This is the wear of our enamel, which is the hard exterior coating of the tooth. When this material is destroyed due to collision, it can expose the interior workings underneath. Infection often sets in requiring a root canal surgery. Another main issue is the shift of alignment. Bruxism often refers to a specific movement that can move the structures of the mouth in very extreme ways.
Sleep Apnea Blocks Oxygen
Another primary avenue for health problems overnight lies in the head and neck. Sleep apnea is the obstruction of the airway which prevents oxygen from passing through the throat. During REM sleep our body relaxes as does the nerve that controls our tongue. This can block the airway and prevent you from receiving oxygen for a period of time.
Long-term health effects of apnea include a higher likelihood of stroke or heart attack. These are leading causes of death in the United States, so take the time to ensure that your sleep is as restful as possible!
A Night Guard May Restore Your Sleep
One of the most successful ways of combating these common sleep disorders comes from a nightly-worn mouthguard. By repositioning the jaw, you can count on oxygen through the night, without a CPAP machine or surgery. Also, make sure that you aren’t destroying your enamel overnight. Schedule an appointment today at Ballard Neighborhood Dentist in Seattle, WA for a consultation!