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Jubilee Dental Centre Blog

How can sleep apnea become life-threatening?

Sleep apnea can have a negative effect on various aspects of a person's health and quality of life, but how serious can it become? Today, our Summerland dentists talk about how your body responds to sleep apnea and when it might become life-threatening.

What is sleep apnea and how does it happen?

When you suffer from sleep apnea, you may sleep a full night but feel as though you haven't slept at all. In the cases that are more extreme, patients can be noted to stop breathing as many as 30 times throughout the entire night.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most prevalent type of sleep apnea, though there are other varieties as well. A physical obstruction of the airway while sleeping is what causes OSA. One of the most prevalent signs of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. The signs of sleep apnea include excessive daytime sleepiness, abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking, morning dry mouth or sore throat, and morning headaches.

Sleep apnea not only affects how rested you feel, but it can also have a more widespread effect on your entire body and health.

What is the effect of sleep apnea on your overall health?

Sleep apnea has the ability to cause a variety of oral health concerns. When a patient experiences sleep apnea breathing through their mouth all night will cause the symptom of dry mouth. This can cause bad breath and increased plaque build-up and put patients at a higher risk for gingivitis and periodontal (gum) disease. 

Sleep apnea can also cause: 

  • Teeth grinding (which may cause wear and breakage)
  • Worn tooth surfaces 
  • Increased cavities 
  • Mouth sores
  • Tongue with scalloped edges 

What are some of the more severe side effects of sleep apnea?

It is well known that individuals with sleep apnea have lower oxygen saturation levels. Your body instinctively tightens your arteries and quickens your heartbeat in response to this situation. Heart stress, high blood pressure, an accelerated heartbeat, an aggravated state of inflammation, and other cardiac complications could result from this.

Some of the serious conditions that could result from sleep apnea are:

  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack 
  • Asthma
  • COPD

It is crucial that you get in touch with your dentist right away if you notice any of the symptoms of sleep apnea because it has the potential to lead to these other serious conditions. You can get the necessary testing and diagnosis quickly by making an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can, allowing you to start managing the effects as soon as possible.

How can sleep apnea be managed?

Dentists are frequently the first medical professionals to notice sleep apnea because of the effects it has on your oral health, despite the fact that they are unable to diagnose the condition.

If your dentist notices any of the common signs of sleep apnea during your routine dental visit, they will recommend your visit your doctor for an examination and diagnosis. 

Some dental offices also provide dental appliances that can be used to help keep your airway open while you sleep and alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. 

Do you feel like you haven't slept at all even if you had a full night's sleep? Contact our Summerland dentists today to book a consultation.

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