We know that nutrition and fitness are two of the key pillars to being healthy. But there is one area that often goes ignored or overlooked and that is the importance of sleep. Between about 50 and 70 million adults in the United States have a sleep disorder. On top of that, many are experiencing chronic poor sleep because of insomnia or sleep apnea. 

These conditions negatively impact a person’s ability to function properly in the daytime while also reducing their quality of life. They can also result in long-term health conditions. Taking your sleep health seriously is also important because it has negative effects on your oral health.

Sleep apnea’s connection

A common sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your airway either partially or fully closes while you sleep. Each time this happens, your oxygen levels drop. As a result, you will often wake up without remembering it. From this, you can experience an array of poor health outcomes that can also be linked to oral health. 

For people with sleep apnea, you may find that you are breathing through your mouth more because this is the path of least resistance for airflow. But with chronic mouth-breathing, you may experience bad breath or changes in your facial structure. On top of that, there is a 50% chance that someone with bruxism, or teeth grinding, also has sleep apnea. This contributes to even more oral health problems. 

And lastly, patients with sleep apnea are also at a high risk of suffering from temporomandibular joint disorders. 

Get screened for sleep apnea

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommends that all dental patients get screened for sleep apnea. If you get screened and do have sleep apnea, treatment includes CPAP therapy or oral appliance therapy. 

Take charge of your oral–and overall–health now by getting screened for sleep apnea and finding the best treatment for you.