Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is often the result of an obstructed windpipe temporarily preventing air from passing through while you sleep. When your brain registers the oxygen shortage, it jolts your body awake and you wind up gasping for breath. Sometimes, this happens without you ever realizing it.
The Effects of OSA
Sleep apnea is considered a slow and silent killer. What may seem like an annoying snoring issue could actually take a serious toll on your health. Sleep apnea deprives your body and brain of oxygen over short periods of time. This can contribute to problems such as depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Not to mention, the chronic fatigue that follows sleep apnea isn’t too great for your body, either. In order to treat this condition and spare your system the bad effects, you first need to find out whether you are prone to sleep apnea.
Signs and Symptoms
Aside from the loud snoring, here are some signs to look out for that could mean you suffer from a chronic lack of oxygen while you sleep.
- Frequent bouts of waking up or insomnia
- Headache in the morning
- Dry mouth and/or sore throat when you wake
- A choking or suffocating sensation in the middle of the night
- Moodiness and exhaustion during the day
- Tooth wear or damage to dental restorations (indicates that you’re unconsciously clenching your teeth in stress)
Some of these signs are things you might notice simply by asking yourself. Others (such as snoring or pauses in breathing) are things that only a sleeping partner or family member would notice.
Many people are surprised to learn that issues they deal with during waking hours actually stem from a sleeping problem. They usually get a diagnosis after visiting a doctor for something else. The same can happen during dental visits.
It’s Time for a Solution
Not sure if you’re a victim of obstructive sleep apnea? Let a Shoreline Dental dentist refer you to a trusted sleep clinic in the West Haven or Milford area. We’ll also be happy to fit you for a customized mouth guard that can prop open your airways and get you a restful night’s sleep!