Want to stop snoring?

Want to stop snoring?

As a condition that affects over 40% of the population, it is no surprise that the majority of us have been impacted by snoring in some way, shape or form. There are both varying degrees and varying types of snoring: it can be ‘simple’, or it can be symptomatic and may require further exploration. Regardless, there are a number of conditions associated, including:

  • diminished energy
  • lack of concentration
  • increased risk of stress
  • reduced libido
  • high blood pressure

As well as the impact to the snorer, a lack of sleep on the bed partner’s behalf is also dangerous for their health and well-being. Many cases are reported by the bed-partner, with the snorer having very little awareness of their bedtime activities.

Thankfully, there are many interventions that can assist with snoring. Before discussing these, however, it is first important to highlight the cause.

What causes snoring?

Once we are asleep, our muscles relax. This can result in the soft tissues in the throat vibrating, causing the familiar snoring sound.

However, this doesn’t happen to everyone: there are a number of factors that can increase chances of snoring, including: obesity, gender, age, alcohol, and medication. For most sufferers, snoring occurs in isolation (simple snoring). In these cases, it is often the bed-partner that suffers, with the snorer unaware that they are causing such a disturbance. However, it can also take place as part of a more serious condition, obstructive sleep apnoea, which can be potentially life-threatening if not treated correctly.

What is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)?

OSA is a serious condition where, for short periods of time, the airway becomes blocked during sleep, cutting off oxygen reaching the lungs. There are two types of breathing disruption associated with OSA:

  • Apnoea – where the muscles collapse sufficiently enough to cause a total blockage of the airway for 10 seconds or more
  • Hypopnoea –  partial blockage of the airway that causes an airflow reduction of more than 50% for 10 seconds or more

Both of these problems can occur several times throughout the night and are most commonly recognised by loud snoring, paired with snorts, gasps, or laboured breathing.  This leads to disruption for both the bed-partner AND the sufferer, with the snorer often waking feeling tired due to a night with reduced oxygen intake.

There are many associations with obstructive sleep apnoea, and, due to fat distribution, middle-aged males are twice as likely to suffer from OSA in comparison to middle-aged females. The discrepancy does start to level out, however, believed to be due to hormonal changes after menopause.

 

What are the treatments for snoring?

Though many snorers and tired bed-partners typically look to their doctor for help when it comes to snoring, their dentist arguably has a larger part to play – initially at least.

As snoring is typically caused by the lower jaw dropping back during sleep, the easiest way to stop it is to prevent the jaw from slipping backwards. This can be achieved with a device called a Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS). Available from trained dentists, there are a number of devices available, one of which is the Sleepwell.

 

The most clinically proven MAS for the treatment of snoring & mild to moderate sleep apnoea,  the Sleepwell is a two-piece device that is fully-adjustable by the wearer, and designed to hold your lower jaw forward. Holistically, however, there may be other behaviours that could assist with the problem, such as:

  • Sleeping position – lying on your back inevitably is the worst position for snoring. Trying different positions may have a positive effect.
  • Bed-time ‘hygiene’ – avoiding alcohol or caffeine in the evenings can help. Both muscle relaxants, they can increase the chances of snoring.
  • Weight-loss – holding excess fat around your neck can play a major role in both snoring and sleep apnoea.

 

National Stop Snoring Week 23-27 April 2018

Mandibular Advancement Splints are customised oral devices to help manage snoring. For more information, visit www.britishsnoring.co.uk, or call the practice for any further queries.

Cosmetic Dentistry- What You Should Know

Cosmetic Dentistry- What You Should Know

Cosmetic dentistry has become increasingly popular, largely as a result of social trends and increased media coverage. This understandable desire for the alleged ‘perfect smile’ needs to be tempered with an appropriate awareness of the significant risks associated with invasive cosmetic procedures such as veneers and crowns. Patients need to be properly informed that elective removal of healthy enamel and dentine can result in pulpal injury and poorer periodontal health in the longer term, particularly if they are young. The duty of candour means that they ought to be informed that aggressive reduction of sound tooth tissue is not biologically neutral and results in structural weakening of their teeth. Less invasive procedures such as bleaching on its own or for example, combined with direct resin composite bonding, can satisfy many patient’s demands, while still being kinder to teeth and having much better fall-back positions for their future requirements. It is the opinion of the British Endodontic Society, British Society for Restorative Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry UK, Dental Trauma UK, British Society of Prosthodontics and the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry that elective invasive cosmetic dental treatments can result in great benefit to patients, but that some aggressive treatments used to achieve them can produce significant morbidities in teeth which were previously healthy. This is a worrying and growing problem with many ethical, legal and biologic aspects, but many adverse outcomes for patients who request cosmetic dental improvements are preventable by using biologically safer initial approaches to treatment planning and its provision.

Mouth Cancer Awareness Month

Mouth Cancer Awareness Month

Most people have heard of cancer affecting parts of the body such as the lungs or breasts. However, cancer can also occur in the mouth, where the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.

Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. In the last year more than 7,000 have been diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK – an increase of more than a third compared to a decade ago.

Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught early enough. As it is, people with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those having cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.

Find out more at http://www.mouthcancer.org

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