The body lives on blood sugar and oxygen, and the mouth is involved in both. That makes dental offices a logical place to screen Sleep Breathing Disorders.
Sleep breathing disorders range from mild snoring without any drop in blood oxygen to full-blown Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) — stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer — with oxygen drop of 4% of more. A medical diagnosis is made through a sleep test.
Sleep apnea results from a collapse of the upper airway (1), and the tongue is a key obstruction in Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). A new study shows that tongue position in relation to the throat is a predictor of OSA. (2)
Another study connects tooth marks on the sides of the tongue to lower sleep efficiency and oxygen drop of over 4%. (3)
Sleep apnea leads to health bankruptcy from oxygen deficit night after night. Quality of life and life expectancy go down with high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, acid reflux, lower immunity, depression, anxiety, senile memory, chronic pain, daytime sleepiness, and higher traffic accidents. (4)
Additional research findings include:
- Major depression is associated with snorting/stopped breathing > 5 nights a week (5)
- 64% of men with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) have erectile dysfunction (6)
- OSA should be considered as part of the workup of patients with hypertension (1)
- OSA treatment seems to improve some cognitive functioning. Clinicians who care for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease should consider implementing CPAP treatment when OSA is present (7)
- Sustained, long-term CPAP treatment for patients with AD and OSA may result in lasting improvements in sleep and mood as well as a slowing of cognitive deterioration (8).
93% of women and 82% of men with moderate to severe sleep apnea have not been clinically diagnosed. (9) “Considering the serious adverse health and quality-of-life consequences of OSA, efforts to expedite diagnosis and treatment are indicated.” (10)
For Holistic Mouth Solutions to sleep apnea, see Oral Appliances as CPAP Alternative.
(1) Das AM, et. al, Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2009 Jun;7(6):619-26.
(2) Barcelo, et. al, Arch Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery 2011; 137 (10): 990-996
(3) Weiss et al, Archives of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery 2005:133(6)966-71
(4) Dement, JAMA 1993;269(12):1548-1550
(5) Wheaton AG, et. al., SLEEP 2012;35(4):461-467
(6) Santos, et al, Rev Port Pneumol. 2012 Mar;18(2):64-71.
(7) Ancoli-Israel S., J Am Geriatr Soc. 2008 Nov;56(11):2076-81.
(8) Cook JR, J Clin Sleep Med. 2009 Aug 15;5(4):305-9.
(9) Young, T., et.al, Sleep, 1997, 20(9): 705-706
(10) Hiestand, D., et.al, Chest, 2006; 130 (3), 780-786.