Sleep apnea—a chronic sleep disorder—can wreak havoc on your daily life and your health overall. If left untreated, you may be at an increased risk of suffering from dental problems as well as whole-body health issues. Our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists are here with some more information about how sleep apnea can spiral out of control and do serious damage.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by the patient experiencing low oxygen levels and frequent sleep disruptions during the night. Basically, as the patient sleeps, relaxed oral tissues block his or her airway, preventing him or her from breathing naturally. As a result, the patient’s blood oxygen levels continue to drop until the body is forced to wake itself and restart the breathing process.
In the short term, sleep apnea disrupted sleep can make it more likely that you’ll suffer from headaches and other kinds of maxillofacial pain. Sleep apnea sufferers are especially likely to report headaches upon waking or right before bed. You may also find that you feel fatigued and distracted, and that you have trouble concentrating.
The mechanics of sleep apnea can also increase your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Many sleep apnea sufferers sleep with their mouths open almost all night, in an effort to maximize oxygen intake. Sleeping this way contributes to dry mouth, and dry mouth leads to oral infections: cavities as well as gum disease.
The long-term effects of chronic sleep apnea are even more serious. Emerging research shows that untreated sleep apnea is linked to a number of worrisome health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
The sooner that you begin to treat sleep apnea the sooner you’ll be able to sleep soundly and healthily again. Please don’t hesitate to give our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists a call if you want to learn more or schedule a personal consultation—we’re here to help.