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The Sleep-Teeth Connection: What You Should Know

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The Sleep-Teeth Connection: What You Should Know

Do you ever have trouble sleeping? Believe it or not, it can take a toll on your mouth. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to sleeping problems and vice versa. While it may not explain every situation, it’s good to know when brushing and flossing can help and when to get in touch with a professional.

Obstructive Sleep Disorders

You may be familiar with the term sleep apnea, which is a type of obstructive sleep disorder. It creates disturbances while you are snoozing, interrupting your body’s natural processes. In obstructive sleep apnea, your airflow is blocked because the soft tissue that is along the back of your throat collapses. In central sleep apnea, your brain does not signal your breathing muscles correctly.

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and, fortunately, treatable. If you are diagnosed with this condition, you may need to wear a dental device. A professional can help determine what your sleeping issues are and the best plan for treatment. Without taking action, sleep apnea can result in far more than just exhaustion. It can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, gum disease and diabetes.

Other Sleeping Issues

There are other reasons that you may not be getting enough sleep at night, such as stress. Someone under pressure or feeling anxious could easily lose valuable shuteye. And, of course, getting less sleep at night can only add to stress. According to the American Psychological Association, even getting just 60 to 90 minutes more of sleep every night would make most Americans happier – and healthier.

Stress can have an effect on oral health as well. People who are especially anxious may be more prone to grinding their teeth at night. Jaw clenching is another side effect of stress, as are canker sores. Lastly, it has been shown that people under stress are more susceptible to infection – like gum disease – because the body is not equipped as well to ward it off.

Tips for Sleeping Better

The National Sleep Foundation offers several tips for people wanting to get more rest at night. For starters, having a relaxing routine at bedtime can help. Brush your teeth and then engage in a quiet activity, such as reading a book. The NSF also suggests the following:

  • Exercising frequently
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Keep your room cool – it is recommended that your room be between 60 and 67 degrees

If you suspect that you may have a sleeping disorder, get in touch with a medical professional as soon as possible.

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