Sleep disorders, snoring and sleep apnoea
Sleep plays a critical role in our overall health and wellbeing, helping the body to repair and recover whilst conserving energy. During sleep our body undergoes vital processes that help to balance and regulate our immune system, hormones, central nervous system and cognitive processing and function. Anything that impacts or disrupts these processes can lead to lower quality sleep and therefore result in fatigue, teeth grinding, irritability, weight gain, poor memory and inability to concentrate or focus.
One of the most common factors for poor quality sleep is disordered breathing – this can range from snoring to sleep apnoea – and is caused by a partially obstructed airway. Many people don’t realise they experience sleep disordered breathing so it’s important to pay attention to the symptoms of poor sleep and let your dentist know if you experience these on a regular basis.
Your dentist can custom create oral appliances that help keep your airway open while you sleep, or can refer you to a Sleep ENT specialist for additional treatment to improve the quality of your sleep.
If you often wake up with a tender, sore jaw or experience excessive wear and tear on your teeth you may suffer from bruxism. Bruxism is excessive clenching or grinding of teeth and it can cause pain and tenderness as well as can lead to permanent damage of the teeth and jaw joints. You may also find you clench your jaw during the day or when you are feeling anxious or stressed. At Albany Creek Dental your dentist can make you an occlusal splint, (also known as a night mouth guard) to help protect your teeth. These are custom made for your mouth and teeth ensuring a snug and comfortable fit. With regular use these splints help to reduce pain and tenderness associated with excessive clenching and grinding and reduce the risk of long-term damage to your teeth and joints.
If you, or your children play sport regularly it’s a good idea to invest in a sports mouthguard. Most sports, whether due to contact with others, risk of falling or equipment failure, can put you at risk of broken, chipped or loss of teeth as well as soft tissue injury. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) estimates that approximately 35% of traumatic injuries to teeth are sports related. These injuries often require invasive dental work to repair and can cause tenderness and pain.
The majority of these can be prevented through the use of a custom sports mouthguard – a spongy shield for your teeth that helps absorb the shock from any impact to your mouth. Custom mouthguards are tailor made to fit your teeth and bite so you have a snug fit whilst still being able to talk. Talk to your dentist during your next visit to find out more.
There are over the counter mouthguards available that can be used in the interim – these can be moulded in to the shape of your mouth by biting in to them. We recommend them for short term, occasional use but as they are not custom made and often made of lower quality material they can be uncomfortable and less effective than a custom mouthguard in the long term.
Your diet can have a significant impact on the health of your mouth and teeth as well as your ability to breathe properly. If you have food allergies or intolerances your immune system will produce excess mucus which can cause sinus pressure, congestion, disordered sleep breathing, mouth breathing and sore throats. You may also experience tooth sensitivity or dry mouth which can both trigger tooth decay.
At Albany Creek Dental we offer a food intolerance test that can be conducted during your visit to help you understand key food groups to avoid to improve your oral and overall health and wellbeing.