A portrait of an African-American man using a snore mouth guard before bed

 Is Sleep Apnea Wrecking Your Teeth?

Calling all dads. It’s not just the ‘dad bod’ you have to worry about. New research is linking sleep apnea to low bone density and weakened teeth. And as most of us know, apnea is most common in snoring men of your dad’s age.

Based on the stats obstructive sleep apnea is more likely to impact men who are 2 to 3 times more likely to have this serious medical condition. The risk also increased with age and excess weight. All of describes many of our dads or grandads.

The Mayo Clinic defines sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which someone repeatedly stops and starts breathing. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea.

Well-known complications include chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, type 2 diabetes, liver problems, metabolic syndrome- even issues with medication and surgery. If that’s not bad enough- obstructive sleep apnea is now found to play a role in low bone mineral density. That’s a trait associated with osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.

Maybe the most jaw-dropping aspect to this new research is the affect on oral health. Yep, your sleep apnea may cause you to loose teeth. Or cause dental implants to fail. 

This is coming from a study published in the November issue of The Journal of Craniomandibular and Sleep Practice.

It monitored 38 adults who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea- using CT imagery to measure their bone density. The University of Buffalo is responsible for this study and its findings. The team found an increased number of adults with apnea showing up at dental offices look for ortho treatment. Suffering from things like broken or cracked teeth. 

The study’s senior author, Dr. Thikriat Al-Jewair, is an associate professor of orthodontics in the School of Dental Medicine, along with being director of the school’s Advanced Education Program in Orthodontics. He is quoted in a news release issued by the university. 

“While the link between obstructive sleep apnea and low bone-mineral density has yet to be fully explored, this study offers new evidence on their connection that could have several implications for orthodontic treatment,” says Al-Jewair.

All this points to the need to identify and treat apnea before it leads to serious medical conditions. Adding wrecked teeth to the list.

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