Sleep is an important part of your health. It is a chance for your body to rest and rebuild itself in countless ways. However, the way you sleep, or the habits you engage in subconsciously while you sleep, can end up doing more harm than good. This is especially true when it comes to your oral health. There are some common sleep habits that patients perform that can end up ruining their smile over time.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring and sleep apnea can often go hand in hand. While sleep apnea is a very serious sleep disorder that can impact your overall health and quality of life, it can also be a culprit of dry mouth. Nighttime habits like snoring and sleep apnea occur when the mouth is open. Mouth breathing while you sleep deprives the oral environment of saliva. While saliva production decreases in everyone during sleep, it is still a necessary component to your dental health. Saliva accomplishes the following:
- Lubricates oral tissues
- Cleanses and rinses food particles from the teeth and gums
- Minimizes plaque build-up, bad breath, and infection
- Neutralizes acids and prevents enamel erosion
If you or your partner snores, it is important to seek treatment. While dry mouth may seem like a minor drawback of snoring, it can drastically affect the health of your smile. Oral appliances can be used to prevent snoring and dangerous sleep apnea episodes.
Teeth Grinding or Clenching
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can be a response to several factors, including stress, certain medications and dental problems. However, people who grind or clench their teeth while they sleep are vulnerable to a number of dental issues. Nighttime bruxism can lead to tooth damage such as chips, cracks or breaks. When the outer layer of the teeth wear thin, they become more at risk for decay and infection. The drawbacks of teeth grinding don’t stop there. Bruxism while you sleep is also known for causing the following disturbances:
- Morning Headaches
- Facial Pain or Ear Pain
- Jaw pain and TMJ disorder
- Gum disease
- Facial aging due to shortening of teeth
Have you been told that you grind your teeth or snore? There is more at stake than your partner’s sleep. Contact Park South Dentistry today to ensure your smile is protected during all hours of the day, including your nighttime sleep.