Are you worried about snoring? Perhaps it is yourself that snores all you have a partner, husband or wife that snores? Whatever the cause, snoring can become a major problem for both the individual and their partner.
In this blog post our Derby dentist, Dr Daniel Murphy takes an in-depth look at snoring, what it is, how it happens and what some of the potential treatments might be.
Why do people snore?
Snoring happens when a part of your airway becomes narrowed, when you are asleep and relaxed this narrowing can reverberate as you breathe causing the snoring sound.
Anything that makes this narrowing smaller or facilitates your relaxation and sleep can increase the likelihood of snoring, think about things like:
- Being overweight. The extra weight can restrict the airway and put more pressure on the narrowed part causing you to snore more.
- Drinking lots of alcohol. This can encourage a deeper sleep/unconsciousness which means the muscles relax and the airway narrows.
- Sleeping on your back. Your tongue can fall back narrowing the airway.
- Stopping smoking. Smoking can irritate and restrict your airway making snoring more likely.
There are also medical conditions such as sleep apnoea which mean your airway becomes temporarily blocked whilst you are asleep, this is not necessarily linked to weight, alcohol or the position in which you sleep.
How to stop snoring
Before you look at the ways to stop snoring it’s good to consider why you snore in the first place, this will then give you a more detailed answer.
Ways to stop snoring include:
- Mandibular advancement devices.
- CPAP Machines (Constant Positive Air Pressure).
These ways to stop snoring are in addition to the more obvious losing weight, drinking less and stopping smoking.
Mandibular advancement devices
Following a snoring assessment by your dentist mandibular advancement devices can help to dramatically reduce snoring. They work by pulling your lower jaw forwards, as your jaw comes forwards the attached muscles also pull forwards and open up your airway.
This technique is so effective that emergency medical crews will pull your lower jaw forwards if you are unconscious, this act alone can help to open and airway and allow an unconscious casualty to breathe more easily.
Mandibular advancement devices such as this are usually available from your dentist.
You would wear your mandibular advancement device at night, they are comfortable to wear and can help you get a good nights sleep, free from snoring.
This type of device is one of the stop snoring devices that really work.
Other stop snoring aids
Other aids to stop snoring include things like anti snoring pillows and devices which prevent you from lying on your back. These devices all primarily work in the same way, to change your position whilst sleeping so that you don’t snore.
If you’re snoring is not primarily caused by your position then you still may find that you snore when using some of these other devices, if this is the case then a mandibular advancement device may work better for you.
Operation to stop snoring
There is an operation called a somnoplasty, this operation is a simple procedure to modify the shape of your airway, particularly uvula and soft palate. It is done under local anaesthetic so is relatively quick with a short recovery time.
This treatment is however not suitable for people with sleep apnoea.
Obstructive sleep apnoea or OSA
OSA takes snoring to the next level, with this condition the muscles relax so much that the airway becomes completely blocked, when this happens breathing will become impossible.
Obstructive sleep apnoea can affect men, women and children alike, affecting sleep and overall health.
If the apnoea lasts for more than 10 seconds then the level of oxygen in the blood can reduce leading to hypoxia. If this happens frequently throughout the night it can lead to extremely disruptive sleep.
In extreme circumstances a constant positive air pressure machine can be used to keep the airway open, this ensures the blood remains oxygenated and because the airway doesn’t close so often sleep come be far better.
This type of machine will be prescribed by your doctor following sleep apnoea tests.
If you have snoring (as opposed to sleep apnoea) and would like more advice about which device can help, please contact our Derby dentist, Dr Daniel Murphy who will be pleased to see you for a consultation and discuss how a mandibular advancement device may be able to help.