What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused by the reduction of air you breathe, resulting in the obstruction of a blocked or collapsed airway. Using a snore guard advances the lower jaw while also preventing the tongue from flapping back, thereby maintaining an open air passage. The dry desert climate here in Las Vegas can also enhance snoring behavior.
What features should an oral appliance have?
Dr. McGee generally recommends an oral appliance should provide the user the ability to advance the lower jaw in one millimeter increments at any time. Oral appliances that employ hardware, i.e. screws, wires, nuts, and bolts, can compromise user’s health resulting in broken or chipped teeth. Those devices that utilize rubber bands, springs, or torsion to force the lower jaw forward under constant pressure may result in pain and TMJ.
Snoring can be a big problem
45% of adult men and 30% of adult women snore regularly – at least a few nights every week. 25% of adults are considered habitual snorers.
The problem isn’t going away. It has a tendency to get worse with age. Your patients may find that they snore more if they have nasal congestion from allergies or a cold, if they use any alcohol or sedating medications, or if they have put on a few extra pounds.
Snoring affects not only the snorer, but also others sleeping in the house. The snorer, as well as those forced to listen to it, may all experience headaches, fatigue, and concentration problems during the day as well as personal embarrassment. Snoring has widespread health implications including hypertension, depression and cardiac disease.
Many people really don’t know what causes their snoring and don’t believe there is any way to stop it. It can be a helpless feeling when you don’t want to interrupt others in the night but have no way of preventing it.
Snoring comes from the throat. It is caused when your airway becomes partially blocked. When you sleep, you relax. Your muscles and soft tissues in the back of your mouth and throat – the tongue, uvula, upper throat, and soft palate – rub together creating vibrations and noise.
In its most severe form, the relaxation of the upper airway is so complete that the lungs may not receive oxygen for up to 30 seconds. This is called “Obstructive Sleep Apnea”. In response to this deprivation of oxygen, your body triggers an internal alarm and you partially wake. This is usually accompanied by loud gasps for air that can last 3 seconds or more, until you fall asleep and the cycle starts all over again.
Snoring is also affected by diet, health, lifestyle, age, weight, environment and other factors.