Snoring: A Common Problem For Many Adults
It's estimated that nearly 45% of normal adults snore at least occasionally, and 25% are habitual snorers. It's undeniable that snoring can disrupt a good night’s sleep, impact relationships, and affect the quality of life for both you and your partner.
Estimates show that about 80 million people in North America snore. Snoring ranges from the occasional snorer to the chronic snorer. Natick Family Dental of Natick, MA, is concerned about the chronic snorer – the individual who suffers from chronic snoring. A chronic snorer snores whenever they sleep and is usually tired after what seemed like a good night's rest. Chronic snoring affects about 25 percent of the adult population, putting them at risk for developing serious health problems.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring occurs in the throat area when the soft tissue structures of your upper airway collapse onto themselves and vibrate against each other as air passes through them; the result is the sound known as snoring. If you have large tonsils, a long, soft palate, a large tongue, a large uvula, or excess fat deposits in your throat area, they, too, can contribute to your airway being narrowed causing you to snore.
Other factors that can lead to an obstructed or narrowed airway for the chronic snorer are
- Sleeping position: Sleeping on your back can increase the severity of an obstructed airway.
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids: Enlarged tissues can contribute to a narrow airway.
- Deviated nasal septum: Obstruction in the nasal passage way can cause snoring.
- Muscle relaxers or sleeping pills: Causes the tissues to relax more than normal increasing the risk of airway blockage.
- Excess weight: Especially around the neck can increase the risk of airway blockage through excess or enlarged tissues.
- Smoking or drinking alcohol: Any sedatives or airway irritants can increase the risk of airway collapsibility.
- In children, snoring should never be ignored; it may increase the risk of attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral problems. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider right away if you have witnessed your child snore or stop breathing while they sleep.
Doctors have also linked chronic snoring to sleep apnea, a serious condition that causes long interruptions of sleep and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea may also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Why Do People Snore?
When you are awake the tissues in the throat and upper airway are open and allow air to flow to the lungs smoothly, but when a person falls asleep the soft tissues relax and can partially block the airway. When you snore, your airway is being partially blocked by the soft tissues in the back of the throat including the tongue and soft palate.
The Snoring Sound
The noise comes from the vibration of these collapsed tissues in the back of the throat as air struggles to pass over the blockage when you breathe during sleep. It's very much like the sound a flag makes when it waves in the wind. This can happen even when the tissues are normal sized because when you fall asleep the muscles in the throat, soft palate, and uvula relax.
Most snoring usually falls between 50 and 80 decibels. To put this in perspective, a normal conversation is around 60db, a vacuum cleaner 70db, and anything above 90db, such as a power lawn mower has the potential to cause ear damage after prolonged exposure. The loudest recorded snore was at 111 db! That is literally the volume of a freight train.
Why is snoring dangerous?
Snoring can be associated with several types of sleep disorders; the most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). All of these have one thing in common – you are not breathing normally while you sleep and you need to consult a health care provider to receive the help you need to get a better night’s sleep.
The concern is that the collapse of the airway causes a decrease of airflow to the lungs, resulting in a lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. Not only does snoring affect your sleep, but untreated snoring can increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.
You do not need to "snort like a horse" or struggle to "fetch" your breath while sleeping. Our sleep apnea dentist can offer a dental solution – Oral Appliance Therapy – to eliminate your Shakespearian ways, especially if you are a chronic snorer. Oral Appliance Therapy is the use of an oral appliance that prevents your soft tissues from blocking your airway during sleep. Using the appliance is as easy as wearing a dental retainer of athletic mouth guard, and properly fitted, snorting and fetching are no longer a part of your sleep pattern.
At Natick Family Dental, our goal is for you to provide you with excellent dental health care; nevertheless, they also recognize that your body works as a unified organism, and when one system breaks down, it usually affects the body as a whole. If you are experiencing chronic snoring problems, you are not getting a good night's rest. Your body cannot recharge adequately to prepare you for the demands and functionality of the next day. Schedule an appointment with sleep apnea dentist to learn how a simple fix, such as an oral device, can help stop your chronic snoring to allow for a rejuvenating, restful sleep. Silent sleep is just a phone call away.