We know how annoying snoring can be. Whether it’s a partner keeping you awake or you always feel tired because of your own snoring, most of us wish it would stop so we could get better quality shut-eye. But beyond that – could snoring have an impact on your smile, too? It turns out that there could be a link between snoring and tooth decay (cavities). Cavities are one of the world’s most common health problems, but if left untreated, they can get larger and become a more serious issue. But where does the connection between that deep rumbling sound and tooth decay come from?
What happens when you’re asleep?
When you’re asleep, the tissues in the roof of the mouth, tongue and throat relax. In some cases, this relaxation causes a partial blockage of the airway, which causes air to vibrate as it flows through. That vibration is what causes the snoring sound.
Because your airways are partially blocked, this causes your mouth to open so breathing can get easier. Breathing through the mouth causes saliva to evaporate into the air, and you wake up with a dry mouth. Sound familiar?
How can this affect your oral health?
Extra oxygen is usually a good thing, but in this case, mouth breathing can have a knock-on effect on your smile.
That’s because the saliva in our mouth is important for moisture and for balancing pH levels in there. Saliva naturally protects the tooth enamel and keeps bacteria levels low, so when there isn’t much saliva left in the mouth, acidity levels rise and enamel is left unprotected.
This acidity can in turn lead to tooth decay caused by erosion of the enamel.
On top of that, a lack of saliva in the mouth is known as “xerostomia”, a condition that could be the hidden cause of tooth loss and gum disease in 30% of adults, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
What to do if you’re concerned about snoring and cavities
Remember that snoring doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to lose any teeth, but it does mean you need to be especially vigilant about your oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily can inhibit the growth of bacteria at the gumline and between teeth. Wherever possible, limit your intake of sugary food, alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Stay hydrated – especially at night – by keeping fresh water by your bedside.
If you’re concerned about how yours, your partner’s or your children’s sleeping habits are affecting oral health, book an appointment with your dental specialist at King Street Dental.
We offer sleep dentistry services for patients that feel anxious about visiting a dentist.
Contact King Street Dental
You can make an appointment at King Street Dental in Templestowe by giving us a call on (03) 9841 8033 or emailing our practice on [email protected]. Our friendly and experienced team will uncover the best options to correct your dental issues, for long term oral health and a smile you love.