What is your bedtime routine? If you are a patient at my Chapel Hill dental office, we feel pretty sure it includes brushing and flossing your teeth. But routines and habits you may not even be aware of might be part of your night as well! And these habits won’t improve your health the way oral hygiene will. Instead, they might actually destroy your teeth and ruin your day!
These issues are snoring or sleep apnea and bruxism. Both snoring and bruxism (another word for clenching and grinding) are especially problematic in part because so few people are aware that they are doing them. How can you solve a problem when you don’t even know it is there?
We’d like to help. Here are a few signs and symptoms to look for.
Snoring/ Sleep Apnea
- Frequent silences during sleep due to breaks in breathing (apnea)
- Choking or gasping during sleep to get air into the lungs
- Loud snoring
- Sudden awakenings to restart breathing or waking up in a sweat
- Daytime sleepiness and feeling unrefreshed by a night’s sleep, including falling asleep at inappropriate times
If you have any of these symptoms, contact your Chapel Hill dentist or your physician right away. Snoring is no joke; it’s a warning that something is not right. Snoring occurs when the tissues of the throat are so lax or narrowed that air cannot pass through normally. This decreases the amount of air to the lungs, the heart has to work harder, and quality sleep is interrupted, all interfering with healthy living. It could also be a sign of sleep apnea which is quite dangerous and has been linked to everything from dangerous driving to an increased risk for strokes. Don’t take it lightly.
Bruxism (Grinding and Clenching)
- Worn, flattened, or shorter teeth than when you were younger
- Chips, cracks, or hairline fractures
- Chips at the gumline that may look and feel like gum recession
- Sore jaws or teeth, especially during times of stress
- Increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet food and drink
- Unexplained earaches
- Sores on the inside of your cheek or ridges on the sides of your tongue
- Headache or facial soreness
- Gum disease
Since snoring, sleep apnea, and grinding are dangerous to your health and your teeth, it is important to have yourself checked for them periodically. At my dental office in Chapel Hill, we will look for symptoms of both of these disorders — and many more–at every checkup. Give us a call and we can get you back on the path to a good night’s sleep and better health.
Welcoming patients from Chapel Hill, Durham, and Pittsboro.