Snoring is a limit of airflow in the body and if the tissues in the back of the throat get close enough, they vibrate and cause a sound, which is snoring, says Dr. Roger Briggs of Briggs Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Scottsdale, Arizona. When you limit the amount of air in your lungs, the oxygen level drops and your brain gets sent chemicals making it think you are getting strangled, he adds.
All night long, when these episodes occur one after the other, your body releases toxic chemicals because of the "fight or flight" and it does things to wake you up, which is not healthy, Dr. Briggs says. This also causes hormonal and chemical imbalances, which create insulin, stimulants and sugars, which still linger even after taking a deep breath. Dr. Briggs says he has patients who have these strangulation episodes up to 70-80 times an hour.
For those people who snore, about 35% of them have obstructive issues as well, such as sleep apnea. Dentists can treat mild to moderate sleep apnea with a good quality dental appliance, says Dr. Briggs and those patients with more severe cases are treated with a CPAP (constant positive airway pressure) device from a doctor. As the compliance level is very low with CPAP, Dr. Briggs feels that these patients are often unaware of another treatment option, such as an oral sleep appliance, prescribed by a dentist. While an oral sleep appliance may not totally resolve sleep apnea issues in severe cases, it can cut it down to a mild or moderate range, notes Dr. Briggs.
Dr. Roger Briggs is with Briggs Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Briggs is a leading dental expert with Dentist News Network, providing online, on-demand dental news video content across many dental specialties.