Do you suffer from destructive snoring? Or perhaps you have a family member who does? Did you know that a dentist Stevenage can help with managing snoring as a symptom and often address the root cause? Depending on the severity of chronic snoring, it can often be the long-term result of obstructive sleep apnoea. And, although you might see it as no more than a slight inconvenience, it is best to nip it in the bud as soon as possible.
What is snoring?
Snoring is caused when the soft tissues at the back of your throat extend out into your airway where they are vibrated every time you inhale or exhale, creating that oh so distinctive sound! A more advanced version of this is called obstructive sleep apnoea; this is where the softer tissues collapse entirely blocking your airway. This can cause several seconds of you involuntarily holding your breath before violently gasping, pushing the soft tissues out of the way and allowing you to breathe again. People with obstructive sleep apnoea do not necessarily get disturbed but end up with this sporadic sleep gasping and periods of holding their breath throughout the night. These result in waking up exhausted and finding sleep unsatisfying for you, let alone anyone with whom you may share the bed.
If you have developed full-blown sleep apnoea, you may find a sleep apnoea machine helpful next to the bed, but there are options for you to have treatment before you end up there.
Possible treatment options
At dental surgeries, a set of personalized mouthpieces and throat expanders can be produced to prevent the lower jaw from dropping back into your throat as you sleep, holding it in a comfortable neutral position. Not only does this immediately prevent the snoring and relieve symptoms in the short term but it also allows the soft tissues of your throat to develop in their new positions rather than being constantly pushed and causing the quantity and volume of snoring to increase, as you progress towards sleep apnoea.
There are similar devices that can be purchased off the shelf at your local pharmacy. The advantage of a custom-made piece from impressions taken at a dental surgery is that you get a perfect fit. This is important since, if the device slides during the night, not only can it aggravate any snoring, but it could also disrupt you and result in broken sleep. Moreover, hardy mouthguards have a longer lifespan, unlike the cheaper, off-the-shelf alternatives.
Certain lifestyle choices will significantly affect your snoring and how it may develop. The largest of these is smoking. If you are a smoker, you should seriously consider quitting. Drinking alcohol before bed can also seriously aggravate snoring as many of the muscles around the throat will be overly compliant. Your weight is another significant factor, with sleep apnoea being far more common in those who are overweight. Fixing all these lifestyle choices will take time to improve your snoring but this is the best long-term solution.
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