Stop Snoring for Better HealthJun 30, 2021 09:31AM ● By Amparo David
Sleeping is vital to our health as it restores the body on a subconscious level. To get proper sleep, it is imperative that we breathe correctly. Unfortunately, a large portion of the population does not breathe correctly at night and is unaware of the long-term health consequences. Snoring is the most common sign of sleep-disordered breathing and is not as normal as one may think.
When snoring occurs, air is not able to move through the nose correctly and enters through the mouth instead. Breathing through the nose is important as it helps to oxygenate the body more effectively as opposed to breathing through the mouth. The nose is designed to cleanse the air of unwanted foreign bodies that can be harmful to breathe into the lungs. As a result, unpurified air that keeps entering the oral cavity irritates the tissue surrounding the throat, and oxygen is not able to be absorbed as efficiently.
Luckily, there is a therapy that can help treat this problem. Nightlase is a non-invasive procedure that stimulates the back of the throat with the use of a light laser, or photobiomodulation. When someone snores for a long duration of time, the air they breathe through the mouth irritates the soft tissue that creates the opening of the airway. This results in tissue sagging and blockage of the airway, as well as long-term discomfort while speaking or eating. Studies have shown that Nightlase therapy produces a visible elevation and tightening of these compromised tissues. Essentially, the light laser heals the damaged tissue and redirects proper passage of air that is breathed in.
Poor sleep is directly related to issues with cardiovascular problems. This means those suffering from significant sleep-disordered breathing are at a much higher risk of developing disturbances with blood pressure and/or experiencing a heart attack. Individuals that suffer from sleep apnea can experience a complete blockage of air, or apnea event, 30 times in one hour. When there is a disturbance in oxygen intake, it also disturbs the specific rhythm the heart muscles contract to function correctly. By ignoring the signs of sleep apnea, the heart can become weakened slowly and silently over time to a point where a heart attack occurs.
Similarly, blood pressure spikes up when apnea episodes end, and a large inhale ensues. This creates irregular blood chemistry and life-long blood pressure issues that need to be treated with medication. Instead of waiting for blood pressure and heart conditions to become worse and treating them with invasive procedures, stepping in with Nightlase treatment earlier on can be a kinder option to the body.
Not only does sleep quality have a negative physiological affect, but it also has one on a mental level. Oxygen needs to be absorbed in all areas of the body to heal tissues on a nightly basis, most importantly the brain tissues. When sleep apnea occurs, a large portion of the oxygen supply needed to keep the brain functioning is cut off. Left untreated, people suffer brain damage slowly over time to a point where cognitive ability and memory is noticeably impaired.
It is very common that people suffering from daytime sleepiness also report symptoms related to anxiety and depression as they are likely living with untreated sleep apnea. Unfortunately, doctors will commonly prescribe oral medication to help treat anxiety and depression when the correct treatment could be related to opening the airway alone. With that being said, these mental disorders can advance into Alzheimer’s or dementia when left alone. Because there is a strong association between sleep apnea and neurological health, it can be life-changing to treat them earlier on with noninvasive practices like Nightlase.
In conclusion, snoring is the most common symptom to look out for when diagnosing sleep-disordered breathing. Over time, slight snoring can turn into sleep apnea that progresses over time to a point where oxygen is barely making its way into the bloodstream to nourish and heal the body. Not only does snoring affect those that hear it, but it has the potential to drastically change the functionality of the oral cavity, the heart and the brain. Starting therapy to help manage these symptoms is imperative to prevent systemic deterioration of the body and to encourage a more enjoyable progression through life.
Dr. Amparo M. David, DMD, has her own practice, Dentistry by Dr. David, located at 563 Main St., Bolton, where she practices general and cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics. She also has completed a residency in dental sleep medicine and sleep apnea and is able to assist some of her patients with this common problem, including performing the Nightlase procedure. For more information, call 978-779-2888 or visit BoltonDental.com.