Obstructive sleep apnoea is a medical condition in which breathing stops and starts multiple times during sleep. This is a very dangerous condition that puts a strain on the rest of the body – including the heart.
This type of apnea occurs when your throat muscles relax and block your airway during sleep. You’re struggling to breathe and managing to do so. But in the process, your body is deprived of much-needed oxygen. This lack of oxygen affects the entire body, and over time leads to serious health problems like heart disease.
Snoring is the most noticeable symptom of sleep apnoea. Even if you snore “sometimes,” as little as twice a week may increase your chances of damage from oxygen deprivation.
Snoring is NOT normal… it’s a cry for help!
If you’re a mouth breather, you are also at risk for oxygen deprivation from sleep apnoea. Your airways require that oxygen come through the nose into the lungs, not the mouth. Mouth-breathing during sleep is also a serious problem.
Nighttime signs of sleep apnoea:
- Night sweats
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Sleep walking or talking
- Night terrors
- Restless tossing and turning
- Waking up through the night
- Bedwetting beyond ‘normal’ (6-8 years old)
Daytime signs of sleep apnoea:
- Waking up tired
- Waking up with a headache
- Open mouth and low tongue position
- Crooked teeth
- Dry lips
- Reduced energy level
- Wake up grumpy, upset, angry
- Problems with concentration
- Difficulty at work or school
- ADHD symptoms (difficulty staying focused, impulsive behavior)
- Difficulty with exercise (even walking)
If you snore loudly, or are a mouth-breather while you sleep, you should get tested for sleep apnoea. If you have several of these signs of sleep apnoea, you should get tested.
Your dentist is fully qualified to administer a test to determine if you have sleep apnoea. Discuss this with your dentist right away – to start getting treatment, and start improving your overall health.