Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition that not only results in snoring, but causes individuals to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. Although it’s natural for your throat muscles to slacken while you sleep, in cases of OSA, the jaw and throat tissues relax too much and block your airway, resulting in difficulty breathing. It is not uncommon for individuals to be oblivious they have sleep apnea unless they are aware of the common signs, or have a loved one who notices belabored breathing during the night.
While sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a sleep professional, dentists have the ability to notice certain side effects and provide customized oral devices that can be worn at night to keep your jaw stable and your airway open. Dr. Jack Haney works with local sleep apnea Knoxville doctors to help patients receive the treatment they need so they can receive a restful night’s sleep.
Discussed below are five common signs of sleep apnea. To learn more about the Knoxville sleep apnea treatments available, contact our office today to schedule your consultation by calling 865-693-6886.
Snoring and Dry Mouth
Snoring is probably the most noticeable sign of sleep apnea. Although it’s not uncommon for individuals to snore throughout the night, especially if they have allergies or a cold, the type of snoring associated with sleep apnea is loud, obnoxious, and continual. Spouses generally have difficulty sleeping in the same room with someone who has sleep apnea.
If you awaken in the mornings with a sore throat and dry mouth, it is possible you have been snoring and struggling from OSA. Your mouth needs saliva to maintain proper oral health and digestion. Prolonged dry mouth can result in increased tooth decay.
Headaches and Daytime Sleepiness
Individuals with sleep apnea often wake-up in the mornings with a headache. This is due to a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by intermittent pauses in breathing. You may find that as the day progresses, you have difficulty concentrating on basic tasks, are forgetful, and are easily frustrated or struggle with bouts of moodiness.
Anxiety and Jaw Clenching
The lack of energy causes many to stay caffeinated throughout the day with either coffee, sugary sodas, or energy drinks. Although caffeine in moderation is fine, if these drinks are consumed in excess, the lack of sleep combined with the caffeine can lead to heightened levels of anxiety.
If you find yourself clenching your jaw during traffic or stressful moments at work, you may be struggling from anxiety. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding can cause the enamel to weaken, which can result in cracked or damaged teeth. In addition, consuming caffeinated drinks high in sugar can also increase your chances for cavities.
Weight Gain and Diabetes
Individuals with sleep apnea may notice difficulty losing weight, even when following a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Your body needs sleep to function properly. Unaddressed sleep apnea can also lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. All three of these have been known to cause gum disease. This serious oral health condition is chronic and can result in poor oral health and tooth loss.
Unaddressed sleep apnea also increases your risk for developing acid reflux. As acid remains in your throat and the back of your mouth, it can begin to damage the tissues in your esophagus and erode the enamel on your teeth. Although this may not be an initial sign, if you are dealing with this painful condition, it is vital that you speak with your dentist immediately to help protect your teeth and overall health.
Learn More About Knoxville Sleep Apnea Treatment
If have noticed even just one of the signs above, please contact our Knoxville office today. Dr. Haney will advise you on the best form of treatment to help protect your teeth and overall health. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can once again enjoy a restful night’s sleep. Please contact our office online or call 865-693-6886 to schedule your consultation.