Sleep apnea can really take a toll on your life. Waking up countless times during the night can lead to daytime fatigue, headaches, and other health problems. So, if you are looking for ways to manage and alleviate sleep apnea symptoms, then this article is for you.
Talk to Your Dentist About TMJ
While it may sound surprising, your dentist can help you alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms. For example, they can determine if you suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and help you manage this condition.
TMJ happens when the joints that connect the jawbone to the skull aren't properly aligned. This can lead to pain, clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing the mouth, difficulty chewing, and so on.
There is some evidence that shows that TMJ disorder and sleep apnea may be linked. For example, studies have found that people with TMJ disorder are more likely to experience sleep disturbances, including snoring and sleep apnea. Additionally, some research suggests that treating TMJ disorder with oral appliances, such as night guards, can improve sleep apnea symptoms in some individuals.
How can a night guard help exactly? By holding the lower jaw slightly forward, this device helps to keep the airway open by preventing the tongue and soft tissues in the throat from collapsing and blocking the airway. By keeping the airway open, the night guard can reduce the severity and frequency of apnea events during sleep, leading to improved sleep quality.
Moreover, if the dentist determines that your TMJ and sleep apnea are connected, they may investigate further. Sometimes, TMJ can be caused by malocclusion, and orthodontic treatment can help correct your bite and alleviate both TMJ and sleep apnea symptoms.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Your Sleep Apnea
Have a Balanced Life
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid alcohol and smoking. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep on Your Side
Sleeping on your side can help keep your airways open and reduce the risk of snoring and sleep apnea. To help you stay on your side, you can try using a body pillow or wedge pillow.
Elevate Your Head While Sleeping
Elevating your head while sleeping can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms. You can try using a wedge pillow or an adjustable bed that allows you to elevate your head and upper body while you sleep.
Use a Humidifier
Using a humidifier can help keep your airways moist and reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. Dry air can irritate the throat and nasal passages, leading to inflammation and congestion that can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms.
Can a Night Guard Help with My Sleep Apnea?
It's important to note that night guards are not suitable for everyone. Those with severe sleep apnea may require more aggressive treatment such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.
The best way to find out if a night guard is right for you is to schedule an appointment with the team at Flo Dentistry.
Head to our contact page to book your appointment online.