Could Your Sleep Be Killing You?!

.eThe crazy thing is for a lot of people, it actually is! The problem isn’t being asleep.  The problem is not being able to sleep deepBad Sleep enough and at Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown, we have been helping people get a good night of sleep for well over a decade. The American Dental Association finally recommended every dentist screen their patients for sleep and airway issues in 2017. You should see your dentist at least twice a year.  This protects your immune system and keep your mouth healthy.  Your dental visits are the perfect time to screen for sleep and airway issues!

Research has clearly shown that issues with your airway and sleep apnea are a root cause of a number of scary health issues. When your body doesn’t get long enough or deep enough sleep, it can’t heal itself overnight. Another way to define chronic sleep problems is being chronically under oxygenated.  This can cause high blood pressure or heart disease or diabetes or dementia or a number of other significant health issues.

During your later stages of sleep, your hormones that control weight and hunger get impacted making it harder to keep weight off.  In turn, that makes it harder to get a good night of sleep. The later stages of sleep are also when your body deals with anxiety and if you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, it’s no surprise that your level of anxiety is high. The symptoms from sleep and airway issues span a wide range, so the million dollar question, obviously, is are we talking about you?!

Snoring and Sleep Apnea Myths

Before we highlight some of the warning signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) it’s important to talk through some of the myths and misconceptions.

  • It only affects old fat men. There is a much larger risk factor for males and also people who have a high BMI, but OSA and airway issues affect young thin fit women, old fat men, and everyone in between.
  • If you aren’t snoring, you’re in the clear. There are a lot of people who have quiet sleep issues and while loud snorers generally have OSA, there are a lot of people who don’t snore at all and can’t get a good night of sleep.
  • Thinking that the only option for OSA is a CPAP of some sort. There is no better treatment for severe OSA, but for mild and moderate cases, people are significantly more comfortable and responsive to a dental appliance. Even the severe OSA sufferer often does better when combining a dental appliance with CPAP rather than CPAP alone.
  • Snoring isn’t a big deal because everyone does it.  The science has clearly shown that loud snorers have a 95% risk of having some level of OSA.  Unaddressed, it only gets worse over time. The problem with that is the quiet snorers don’t know they are snoring, so if you are snoring loudly enough that it wakes someone up, or wakes you up, then you are a loud snorer and very likely have some level of OSA. The sooner you get that managed, the healthier you will be.

Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Some truths about OSA are as important to know. Snoring is so common that it is just accepted as normal.  In some cases it is just noise and not dangerous or unhealthy. For those who do snore, the underlying issue may be life-threatening if it is paired with any of the following:

Wake up choking or gasping during the night

Frequent morning headaches

Commonly fatigued or sleepy

Heart disease, high blood pressure, or strokes

Mood swings, irritability, and/or depression

Difficulty concentrating or ‘brain fog’

Wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat

Wake up often during the night

Frequent nighttime urination

At Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown, we have been improving sleep for nearly 15 years. If you or a loved one suffer with any of these issues, we can set up a simple home screening.  With this, you can better understand your quality of sleep and your options. We are constantly amazed at the improved quality of life for people who can once again get a good night of sleep!

Give us a call and set up a consultation to find out more – it may well save your life!