Sleep Apnea and Periodontal Disease

Sleep apnea is fairly forefront in terms of health news, as many different sleep clinics hype their individual procedures for curing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep that can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and even death. Several other conditions have been associated with sleep apnea, including diabetes and depression, and now it appears that sleep apnea can be closely associated with periodontal disease.

According to recent research, 77-79% of patients with sleep apnea have periodontal disease. In many ways, this is hardly surprising. One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring, which typically keeps the mouth open for lengthy periods. Exposing your mouth to the open air also exposes it to bacteria, which can find optimal growing conditions in that warm and moist environment. Pair that with missing a a tooth brushing or two, a flossing, and/or a teeth cleaning, and you are prime for developing periodontal disease.

Gum disease can also be a catalyst for similar health risks, like the previously mentioned diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. As such, why risk compounding your chances for developing a serious and potentially debilitating disease? Not to mention, gum disease causes bad breath and tooth loss–two factors that will most definitely not improve your smile.

So, what can you do?

If you snore, talk to your doctor about what you can do to get tested for sleep apnea. Or, talk to your dentist about dental treatments for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea treatment does not always require a costly CPAP machine or invasive surgery. It may surprise you how simple your treatment can be.

However, even if your treatment is a bit pricey, remember that preventative measures are always less expensive in the long run over treating periodontal disease and/or associated complications.

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