How Does Sleep Affect Oral Health?

Did you know that how you sleep can affect your oral health? Additionally, how your mouth and jaw are placed during sleep can cause problems like sleep apnea. Your dental health and sleep are connected. At Smiles by Mia, we can treat problems with your sleep and oral health in our Burke, VA dental office. We offer sleep apnea, dry mouth, and gum disease treatment, which can sometimes emerge due to how patients sleep. 

Sleep and Oral Health in Burke, Virginia

Sleep and Oral Health in Burke, VA

There are several dental and health problems that patients can experience because of their sleep:

Dry Mouth

If you sleep with your mouth open, you can develop dry mouth. When you are asleep, your body produces saliva, which helps keep the teeth and gums healthy. Although dry mouth is not a severe dental problem, it can be embarrassing for patients. If you have dry mouth, you can encounter problems like bad breath or halitosis.

Drinking water, brushing and flossing daily, and getting a nightguard if you experience sleep apnea can help stop dry mouth. To prevent halitosis from dry mouth, floss before brushing and remember to brush your tongue. You may also schedule a dental cleaning with our staff.

Gum Disease

Another problem that people with sleep apnea or those who open their mouths when asleep may experience is gum disease. A lack of saliva and dry mouth can increase patients’ risk of gum disease. Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a bacterial infection. Harmful bacteria feed on food debris left in the mouth, irritating and inflaming the gum tissues. Over time, gum disease can destroy healthy gum tissue and lead to tooth loss.

Like dry mouth, patients can visit the dentist twice a year to help prevent gum disease symptoms. At regular dental visits, our hygienists offer thorough dental cleanings. Scaling and root planing can clean beneath the gum tissue and smooth the tooth roots to prevent loose teeth. We also recommend antibacterial gels and rinses to minimize bacteria in the mouth.

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is marked by periods where patients cease breathing. The soft tissues in the back of the mouth close the air passageway. Many patients with sleep apnea snore or experience headaches and daytime sleepiness. As sleep apnea worsens, patients can experience apnea many times during sleep.

Wearing a custom-made oral appliance can prevent blocks from the tongue or other tissues in the mouth. The oral appliance covers the upper and lower tooth arches and brings the lower jaw forward. Wearing an appliance helps patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea get the right amount of sleep without interruptions. If patients have severe sleep apnea, we will recommend a CPAP machine. This machine supplies air to open up the mouth and prevent blockage. 

Do you have symptoms of sleep apnea? Does your dry mouth make it difficult to feel confident in your smile? Call Smiles by Mia for high-quality care today at (571) 789-1265. You may also request a dental appointment with Dr. Mia online.