Snoring is a prevalent symptom in today’s society; however, just because snoring is common does not mean one should ignore it. Snoring can be a serious symptom for many individuals and interfere with their quality of life.
If you’re confused about whether your snoring might be a symptom of sleep apnoea, then keep reading to find out the common causes of snoring and if, or when, you should see your doctor about sleep apnoea.
What Causes People To Snore?
According to Health Direct Australia, “Snoring happens when parts of the throat vibrate while you are sleeping. It indicates that something is interfering with breathing. While snoring is common and often frustrating for the household, it can be a sign of a more serious health problem.”
Alcohol and Sedative Medication
Consumption of alcohol can put your health at risk and be a factor for snoring, alongside sedative medication. This is because when an individual consumes alcohol or sedative medication, it causes the muscles located in the back of the throat to close faster. This makes the airway passage narrower for air to flow through during sleep.
Another common reason for snoring is smoking. Smoke can irritate the throat and nose, creating a greater chance for irritation and inflammation.
When these passageways are inflamed, they narrow, causing snoring.
Those who tend to snore most likely sleep on their backs. When you sleep on your back, it makes your tongue rest on the back of your throat. When this position occurs during sleep, it makes a vibrating sound as the air passes through a narrow space between your throat and tongue.
To avoid this, try and sleep on your side instead, which prevents your tongue from partially blocking the wall of your throat.
Blocked nasal airways
A blocked nasal airway due to congestion or infection can cause snoring. A wholly obstructed nasal airway will create suction, causing the nasal airway to the throat to be blocked.
Chronic nasal congestion can cause snoring as it obstructs airflow to the throat.
When the throat muscles relax, this causes the soft palate and tongue to relax over the throat, due to gravity.
The reason for snoring is when throat muscles relax. When sleep-deprived, your throat muscles are weak and cannot fully control every mechanism. This causes the throat muscles to relax and narrows the throat passageway, and snoring occurs.
Obesity can cause snoring mainly due to the fat surrounding one’s neck. If there is enough fat around an individual’s neck, it could cause pressure on the airways.
When Your Snoring Might Be Sleep Apnoea?
Generally, according to ResMed Australia, “Snoring and sleep apnea (also spelled apnoea) are linked at an alarming rate – three in 10 men and nearly two in 10 women who are habitual snorers suffer from some degree of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea prevents you from getting the healthy sleep you need to lead a refreshed, energetic life.”
If you tend to snore, then the natural question is, when does snoring become a symptom of sleep apnoea?
This is not a black and white issue and can differ for each individual. The essential advice to remember is that it’s always best to make an appointment to speak to your dentist or doctor if you snore.
Is It Dangerous?
Snoring can lead to gum and teeth issues. Colgate Australia states that “the direct effect of snoring on the oral cavity is xerostomia (dry mouth)” saliva is needed to clean the “oral cavity by washing the tongue, gingiva (gums) and cheeks of accumulated dead cells.”
When there is a lack of saliva due to snoring, you develop a dry mouth, which provides a better breeding ground for bacteria.
Sleep Foundation states that if one’s snoring is severe, it can lead to other dangerous illnesses in the future, such as “cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and depression.”
When Should You See a Doctor About Snoring?
If your snoring occurs three or more times per week, you should see a doctor. Your doctor can assess whether you need special assistance and if the snoring is a symptom of a more severe condition, such as sleep apnoea.
Snoring may occur on and off. However, once it becomes a regular occurrence, it may be time to talk to your dentist. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnoea, and the earlier you catch onto it, the better it is for your health.
Many life factors can influence sleep and increase your chances of sleep apnoea. If left untreated severe snoring can cause significant health issues. Becoming more knowledgeable about the science of snoring and speaking to your doctor will ensure that you keep your health a priority.Visit us here to learn more about snoring, sleep apnoea, and its relationship to oral health.