People are often surprised at how multi-faceted a good Peterborough dentist can be, and how many areas of medicine can actually fall under their care. A dentist’s primary concern is your teeth, true, but in fact, a lot of various illnesses throughout the body can create problems in the mouth.
A good example of this is in the odd connections between bruxism (teeth-grinding), Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (acid reflux, aka GERD) and sleep apnea. Even though these conditions come from all over your head and body, they all connect in your mouth – and could be harming your teeth!
Our team Dr. Christopher Moore and Associates takes a closer look.
Exploring the Links Between GERD, Bruxism, And Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is an extremely common throat condition, where a person’s throat constricts while they sleep. Sometimes, this causes snoring. In more severe cases, the throat can close almost entirely – leading to the patient startling themselves awake, gasping for air.
Millions of people suffer from sleep apnea, in its various forms, and they all get poor sleep from it.
Dentists have also long noticed a link between sleep apnea and bruxism. Roughly one in four sleep apnea patients grind their teeth. The exact reasons for this are not entirely known, but it likely relates to the same muscle contractions that lead to sleep apnea. What is known is that if an apnea patient also has bruxism, they could potentially grind down their teeth – that makes it a big concern for dentists!
Now, however, there’s a new wrinkle: A 2014 study showed that people with sleep apnea were more likely to experience GERD (acid reflux). Or, perhaps, it’s the other way around – the results were inconclusive on which was causing which. Either way, they are linked together.
This is significant to dentists because GERD is also harmful to the teeth. Whenever stomach acid reaches high enough into the esophagus to affect the level of acidity in the mouth, that causes teeth to be literally melted away. Combine this with bruxism, and you’ve got a situation where a patient’s body has practically turned against their own teeth!
Do You Have Sleep Apnea and/or GERD? Contact Dr. Moore!
Fortunately, dentists have found ways of reducing sleep apnea – and hopefully GERD, along with. A good Peterborough dentist can help you manage your sleep apnea, getting a better night’s sleep and reducing damage to your teeth.