9 months ago
A person who snores is not likely aware of the unique breathing sound that he/she produces while asleep. The same cannot be said about the person sleeping in the same bed though. Did you know that snoring is the third top reason why marriages end in divorce, following financial problems and adultery? Yes, even couples who vowed to love and to hold gave up on their marriage vows because the other was unable to sleep with the other partner snoring. So why are some people sleeping like a roaring truck while the others are breezing through their night dreams like a silent boat?
Why People Snore
Ideally, your air passageway must be free from any type of obstruction in order for you to breathe in and out without any problems. However, at the back of your mouth and nose is a collapsible structure that includes the tongue, upper throat, uvula and soft palate. When all of these strike each other, the vibration produces a sound called snoring. There are several reasons why the narrowing in this area happens. For some, it could be a result of a poorly toned throat and tongue muscles.
This is common to people who are on alcohol or drugs, agents that could promote sleep. People who have obstructions in the air passageway such as mucus may also have problems with snoring during sleep. The effort exerted in breathing in air creates a vacuum in the throat. This action tugs the tissues in the cavity which, in turn, produces a snoring sound. Obvious thickness in throat tissues such as large tonsils could also create this problem. This is the reason why overweight people are more likely to snore- they have very thick necks to begin with. Medical conditions like tumours and cysts may also cause snoring albeit in rare cases.
Is Snoring Dangerous?
While some will only experience this on certain occasions, there are also those who snore every night. Snoring reduces the quality of sleep. Instead of feeling rested after a night’s sleep, you might wake up feeling like you have just participated in a marathon run. If this persists for extended periods, it might take a toll on your health. If you are suffering from severe snoring, take note that you have this addressed soon as this can lead to obstructive sleep apnoea. This condition may cause interrupted breathing while you are sleeping and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
The good news about snoring is that this can be cured. An otolaryngologist could help rule out the possible causes of snoring through a nose, mouth, and throat examination. Snoring treatment will vary depending on what is causing it. Light snorers may need lifestyle changes that include losing weight and athletic activities to help tone muscles. For severe cases, a head and neck specialist may be able to correct the problem through a surgical procedure. You may also be able to get help from your dentist. Dentists are no longer confined to the treatment of tooth and gum problems anymore. Their scope of practice now includes screening patients for conditions that are not teeth-related such as sleep apnoea, an illness linked to snoring. Dentists recommend the use of mouth guards to patients who suffer from teeth grinding. But this is not their only use. Custom-fit mouth guards could also help patients who suffer from snoring.
Snoring is a sound begging for medical attention. It can impede with relationships, make you lose sleep, and put your health at risk. If you or one of your family members is suffering from this condition, seek medical help right away before it leads to a more serious medical problem.
BDS (Hons.) MJDF RCS (Eng), MClinDent (FRP Lond) FICOI, MSc (Dental Implantology)
BDS (Lond) MJDF RCS (Eng)