Why Your Dentist Cares About Snoring

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for our overall health. But there are numerous things that can keep us from sleeping soundly, especially snoring. In fact, if you or your bed partner snore, there’s a good chance that you’re not getting enough sleep. But why does your dentist in Boerne care about snoring? The truth is, snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that not only keeps you and your loved ones from getting a solid eight hours of sleep a night, it could also mean that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen while you’re catching Zs. Sleep apnea occurs when someone stops breathing during sleep, sometimes up to 100 times a night! One of the most concerning parts about sleep apnea isn’t even the snoring itself, it’s the fact that you may not even know that it’s happening. 

Types of Sleep Apnea

It’s important to note that not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea, that’s one reason why it can be so hard to diagnose. However, snoring is one of the most common signs of sleep apnea. There are two types of sleep apnea:

1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – The most common form of sleep apnea is the type called obstructive sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep due to the soft tissues in the back of your throat collapsing.

2) Central Sleep Apnea – This type of sleep apnea may not directly involve a blocked airway, but it does involve a problem with how your brain signals your breathing muscles. Oftentimes, the brain fails to signal the breathing muscles to breathe. Cases of central sleep apnea are more difficult to diagnose. 

Snoring & Oral Health Concerns

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, roughly 90 million Americans snore. And, as we’ve noted, sometimes snoring is simply annoying and not caused by sleep apnea. But that doesn’t mean these primary snorers aren’t at risk. In fact, your dentist in Boerne may ask if you snore because it can affect your oral health. Snorers breathe out of their mouths instead of their noses which can quickly dry the mouth out and reduce saliva production. Saliva is crucial to maintaining good oral health as it neutralizes acids and helps rinse away bacteria. Without it, snorers may be at increased risk for: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Gum disease
  • Bad breath
  • Cavities
  • Tooth loss

If you wake up with a sticky mouth, dry mouth, or bad morning breath, you may be mouth breathing or snoring during sleep or have sleep apnea. Your dentist in Boerne, will encourage a visit to a sleep center and want to keep a closer eye on your oral health. 

Preventing Problems

To combat any negative side effects of snoring or sleep apnea, you should always make sure to:

  • Brush and flossing twice a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • See your dentist in Boerne twice a year

Snoring isn’t something you should take lightly. If you’re concerned about your snoring, talk with your dentist about possible treatment options either from a medical doctor or dentist. 

Do Men Have Different Oral Health Needs than Women?

We’ve all heard of the book, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” which explains some of the main psychological differences between these two genders. But did you know that these differences extend into dentistry? It’s true! Just ask your dentist in Boerne. Since men are more likely to avoid regular dental care, they often have unique needs and are actually at more risk for more dental problems than women.  

Skipping Dental Appointments Is Bad News

Dentists always recommend that all patients visit at least twice a year for preventive checkups. But many men don’t see the dentist regularly. In fact, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control, just shy of 60% of adult American men go to the dentist every year. This habit, along with others, often means that men have different oral health needs and complications than women. Let’s look at a few. 

Brushing & Flossing

Starting with the basics, the truth is men are less likely to brush their teeth twice a day and after meals. They’re also less likely to change their toothbrush every three months or after a cold. These oral hygiene habits can certainly cause some concern for your dentist in Boerne

Lifestyle Habits

Statistically, men are more likely than women to partake in habits that can put oral health in danger, such as using tobacco products and drinking more alcohol. These lifestyle habits can make dental care different for men than women and may require additional appointments to the dentist. 

Gum Disease

One of the serious oral health issues that usually affects men more than women is gum disease, perhaps because of their increased likelihood to smoke or drink alcohol — both of which are known contributors to the development of gum disease. In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, 56% of men have gum disease as compared to only 38% of women. When not caught and treated in the earliest stages, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and prostate health in men. This is one of the main reasons why preventive dentistry checkups with your dentist in Boerne are so important. 

Oral Cancer

Over 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, nearly 10,000 will die from it, and it’s another scary disease that affects men more than women. In fact, oral cancer is twice as common in men than women. Oral cancer can be found in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, or the far back area of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). The good news is oral cancer can be treated successfully if caught early. Which is another reason to see your dentist regularly. 

More Complicated, More Advanced Dental Treatment

We already know that many men will avoid going to the dentist every six months. But men will see their Boerne dentist if they’re experiencing a problem. However, at this point, it’s often too late for easy treatment. When problems are small and are caught early, treatment is usually quick and easy. In fact, many people won’t even know they had a problem since they probably didn’t have any pain. However, when problems are left untreated over time, small issues can quickly become big problems. These big problems also often require more complex care such as a root canal, dental crown, extraction, dental bridge, or dental implant.

No matter your dental needs, your lifestyle habits, or your gender, it’s important that you see your dentist every six months. These visits help catch problems early, remove plaque buildup from your teeth, and give your dental team a chance to chat with you about your oral hygiene habits. Call to schedule an appointment today.