What causes sleep apnoea?
Could your deep bite or worn teeth be causing your sleep apnoea?
Has a tongue tie you may have had since birth also possibly contributed to your condition? Obstructive sleep apnoea is a condition that can lead to a number of serious health conditions, and one that should be treated and managed as early as possible. In fact, the disorder has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, depression, diabetes, reduced cognitive function, dementia, industrial and motor vehicle accidents, erectile dysfunction and a range of other conditions.
But, what actually causes it? And, what can be done about it? Read on to find out if you might be suffering from this sleep disorder, and what factors may be contributing to it …
What causes obstructive sleep apnoea?
There are many anatomical factors that may cause potentially life-threatening or life-shortening obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
Simply having an extreme overbite (which means that when your teeth are closed together, your lower teeth are 70-100% hidden behind your upper teeth), or when your teeth are so heavily worn down by grinding or chemical erosion that your teeth are worn down by 5 millimetres or more, will restrict the volume in your mouth and limit the space in which your tongue is able to rest. In this case, there is only one place the tongue can be displaced — backwards into your airway. When the tongue obstructs the airway, it can potentially contribute to or even cause OSA.
What about an adult tongue tie? How does that contribute to OSA?
The bad news is that if you have had your tongue tie since the 12th week in utero, it is possible that your airway has been compromised in some way since birth. In fact, you may have been a bit of a problem for your mum to breastfeed!
Your tongue is supposed to live in contact with your hard palate behind your front teeth when it is at rest. If it has been tied down (as a result of a condition known as ankyloglossia) and could never lift into your hard palate, you have probably ended up with a deep and narrow palate that may have narrowed your nasal airway and caused you to be a mouth breather during sleep. It is also possible that you may have crowded teeth and a deviated nasal septum and possibly suffered lots of middle ear infections in earlier life. Your narrow palate is likely to have left your tongue with inadequate space to fit in your mouth and is a big contributing factor when it comes to OSA.
How can we help?
We are able to address these kinds of issues for you, but as an adult, you will probably need some myofunctional therapy to re-teach your tongue how to function in breathing and swallowing. We have been treating ankyloglossia for decades with the use of our Waterlase lasers and we work in close cooperation with our local chiropractors in bodywork for infants and toddlers. We also work closely with a team of IBCLCs, lactation consultants and midwives who assist in providing breastfeeding advice.
Future Dental has a very high level of experience and expertise in assessing your airway problems and risk factors. We are able to perform thorough examinations to help diagnose airway problems and provide treatment for OSA. We work in harmony with your GP doctor and sleep specialists throughout the diagnosis and treatment process.
OSA is a largely undiagnosed epidemic and is linked to your increased risk of heart attack, stroke, depression, diabetes, reduced cognitive function, dementia, industrial and motor vehicle accidents, erectile dysfunction and various other conditions. If you or your partner snores or you wake up feeling like you have hardly had any sleep, you need to know if you or your partner are suffering from OSA.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to arrange a consultation. We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of personal care, attention and communication. We work with each of our individual patients to come up with the best possible treatment plan. If you are concerned about yourself, your partner or your child, please come in and see us and we will do our best to address any questions you have and to recommend a customised treatment based on your unique needs.