To your sleeping partner, the noise of you snoring might be considered a problem. However, what many are unaware of is that snoring, particularly the causes behind it, can actually prove harmful to the snorer (and not just in the sense of an aggravated sleeping partner). Whether it’s merely a consistently annoying habit, or a sign of a more serious sleep disorder (like obstructive sleep apnea), snoring might be more of a nuisance than you originally thought.
The Snoring & Sleep Apnea Quiz
1.) What typically causes snoring?
a.) Mucus buildup
b.) Abnormal oral tissues
c.) Crooked teeth
2.) What is obstructive sleep apnea?
a.) Excessive mucus buildup
b.) The cessation of breathing while you sleep
c.) Sleeping with your eyes half-open
3.) Does snoring always indicate obstructive sleep apnea?
1.) Abnormal oral tissues—Over-relaxed or abnormally-sized oral tissues, such as the tonsils or base of the tongue, can obstruct your airway when you sleep, restricting the flow of air as you breathe. The smaller space leads to increased air pressure through your airway, and can cause the walls of your throat to vibrate loudly, creating the sound of snoring.
2.) The cessation of breathing while you sleep—The term, “apnea,” is a Greek word that indicates “without breath,” or “to stop breathing.” Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when oral tissues completely block the airway, causing you to stop breathing completely. OSA episodes occur in cycles, beginning with increasingly loud snoring as the airway becomes blocked, then silence as it’s closed off completely. After a few moments, your brain will panic and force the body to wake up and start breathing, though you might not rouse from consciousness.
3.) No—Because of its nature, OSA is always marked by snoring; yet, not all patients who snore suffer from sleep apnea. Still, snoring can hinder your oxygen intake, as well as your quality of sleep, and may exacerbate existing health problems, such as heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.