How Your Dentist Can Help You Sleep Better

Dentist and Patient Examining X-ray

After getting 7 or more hours of sleep, do you still feel tired? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans don’t feel rested and struggle with drowsiness throughout the day. People experience interrupted sleep for many reasons, including oral health problems like sleep apnea and bruxism. Here’s how your dentist can help you sleep better.

Understanding Sleep Apnea
Over 25 million Americans have sleep apnea, which can cause people to snore or stop breathing while sleeping. The American Sleep Apnea Association says there are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive – The tongue pushes against the soft tissue in the back of the throat and blocks the airway.
  • Central –The brain doesn’t tell the muscles to breathe.
  • Mixed – A combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

If you’re snoring at night regularly, talk with your doctor to find out if you have sleep apnea.

Many people with sleep apnea use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help them breathe at night. Others have found relief by using an oral appliance that’s similar to a mouth guard. Your dentist will fit the device to your mouth, which helps keep your airway open while you sleep.

Detecting Bruxism
When dealing with stress or difficult problems, people often clench their jaws or grind their teeth; a problem called bruxism. In fact, at least 10 percent of adults and 15 percent of children grind their teeth. While bruxism usually happens at night, people also can grind their teeth during the day. Bruxism can cause headaches and oral pain as the grinding wears down tooth enamel and exposes nerves.

Dentists can treat bruxism with a mouth guard designed to fit your mouth and protect your teeth, which can be worn at night or during the day.

Improving Sleep
Medical experts also recommend eating low-fat foods and reducing the amount of screen time at night to help you get more restful sleep.

Learn seven more ways you can wake up refreshed by reading this blog.

American Sleep Apnea Association
Huffington Post

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