I don’t know if I’m just noticing or if it has just come on suddenly but every single night this week my husband has been snoring. It’s driving me crazy and keeping me from sleeping. Last night I actually slept on the couch. What the heck is going on? I did try venturing out to get some Breathe Right strips, but that didn’t help. My sister-in-law suggested it could be a dental thing. How is that possible?
There are several causes of snoring and one of them is something a dentist can fix.
When Snoring Comes on Suddenly
One thing you can eliminate before seeing a dentist is nasal inflammation. It’s springtime and it’s possible this year he’s developed some allergies. There are over-the-counter medicines you can try such as Claritin or Benadryl. For most patients, Benadryl makes them sleepy so that would be a good choice before bed.
If that is not it, sometimes weight gain can bring on snoring. I know with the quarantine a lot of people are snacking more. However, the amount of weight gain needed for that would be more than you’d get in just a couple of weeks. If he’s been putting on weight for a while, though, it is something to consider.
Mild Sleep Apnea and Snoring
For others, the cause is moderate sleep apnea. This is something your dentist can help you with. There are muscles in the back of our throats which, in some people, will begin to relax and partially block the air passage. When this happens, the result is snoring. A dentist can fit your husband with a small oral appliance that gently shifts the jaw into a more proper position, keeping his airway open and rattle-free.
There are cases of more serious sleep apnea, known as obstructive sleep apnea. This is where the muscles relax so much that it completely blocks his airway, stopping his breathing. When this happens his body will kick into a startle reflex, jolting him away for an instant. This is just enough to open his passage and allow him to breathe again. This can happen hundreds of times a night and he won’t be aware, so if you happen to be awake while he’s sleeping you can see if you observe that. Generally, we check this with a sleep study, but with everything on lockdown right now, just keep an eye out for it. If you notice something, contact your dentist and let him. know.
Untreated obstructive sleep apnea will take a real toll on his body. Not only will he be exhausted all the time, even after a full night’s sleep, but it can lead to heart problems and stroke in the long term.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Woods Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.