Snoring and Your Oral Health

You can have great oral hygiene — brushing your teeth, flossing between your gums, scraping your tongue and using mouthwash but can you do more? Do you snore? What causes it? What can be done? How does it affect my mouth? First, let’s learn more about it.

Snoring is caused when a person’s airway is partially blocked while sleeping. When sleeping, the muscles in the soft palate, tongue and throat relax. Soft tissues in the throat vibrate as air flows past, generating the noise. Snoring is extremely common and can affect almost anyone and there is different reasons for snoring. Anatomy — some people may have a narrow airway due to a low, thick soft palate, an elongated uvula or large tonsils or adenoids. Obese or overweight people tend to have more fat tissue on the back of their throat that may narrow their airway and cause snoring. Nasal — chronic nasal congestion may be what causes snoring by obstructing the air flow when breathing. Alcohol, sedatives and tobacco — these products can relax the muscles in the throat and decrease the natural defences against the obstruction of the airway. Other factors include being male, being 40 years of age or older, pregnant or having a family history of snoring.

The direct effect of snoring on the oral cavity is the cause of dry mouth. This is a lack of salivary flow and saliva is needed to coat and moisten the oral tissues. Lack of this saliva may lead to various oral health problems like bad breath, burning mouth syndrome, infections and sores, tooth decay and gum disease.

Snoring has many implications in the oral cavity, whether direct or indirect. There are several medical and behavioural treatments available depending on what causes snoring for that individual. Those seeking treatment for snoring should consult their doctor.