Snoring is a vibration of the tissues in the throat. As the tissues get larger and get closer together, they vibrate as we breathe in and the vibration is what creates the noise, says Dr. Rich Gillespie, of Gillespie Dentistry, in Vancouver, Washington. He adds that 45% of men and 30% of women snore on a regular basis and the older we get and the more weight we gain, the more tendency we have to snore. The tissues thicken up with weight and as we age, the tissues lose tone and droop, causing the vibration.
Snoring used to be a social concern but we know now that the noise isn't just the problem, says Dr. Gillespie. It an create a thickness in the carotid arteries of the neck, for example, which can lead to strokes and heart disease. Dr. Gillespie says that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea but they are moving in that direction.
An oral appliance can treat the snoring, which is used to stabilize the lower jaw and prevent a collapse so the tissues don't get close enough to vibrate. It keeps the airway open to prevent snoring. The oral appliance prescribed by a dentist is different from the ones purchased over the counter. While they're the same in principal, the ones custom-made by a dentist are more durable, well-made and longer lasting.