How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Oral Health

Two things we all crave are a good night’s sleep and fresh breath. Actually, they are related and can be achieved by paying attention to certain symptoms and talking to East Village Dental Arts. Let’s look at how sleep apnea affects your oral health.

Do You Have Sleep Apnea?

Many people have this condition and don’t even realize it. Most consider snoring a sign, but that’s not always the case. The important fact is that it is not healthy and can cause many medical complications including those which affect your oral health.

If you have sleep apnea, which affects 25 million Americans, you stop breathing multiple times as you sleep. In fact, you can stop breathing many times a minute.

Sleep apnea is caused by tissue collapse of the airway due to weak airway muscles, a large tongue, or being overweight. These breathing interruptions can lead to high blood pressure, heart strain, and prevents oxygen from reaching your lungs.

It causes decreased energy and mental performance, and lastly, affects long-term health.Man sleeping in his bed and snoring loudly

Link To Oral Health

Someone with sleep apnea sleeps with their mouth open. They find upon waking they have a headache, a dry mouth, dry throat, and dry lips.

Healthy sound sleep reduces bad breath, mouth ulcers, and also prevents the development of gum disease.

In addition, TMJ disorders, bruxism, and “mouth breathing” are all associated with sleep apnea.

TMJ Linked To Sleep Apnea

TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which connects the upper and lower jaw with one on each side of your face. Someone with TMJ has pain in the head, neck, and shoulders, joints that make a clicking sound, and jaw pain.

A study in 2013 found that people with sleep apnea had a 73% higher risk for TMJ regardless of age, weight, or race.


Another link to sleep apnea is bruxism, or teeth grinding. This occurs at night during sleep as you clench or grind your teeth leading to pain in the jaw. It is considered a sleep disorder since you move your jaw involuntarily at night.

Many times East Village Dental Arts discovers this sleep disorder during a dental examination. Your teeth may be affected with cracked, broken, or worn down edges.

Mouth Breathing

When you breathe through your mouth with sleep apnea, you wake with a dry mouth and throat, leading to tooth decay and gingivitis. Periodontal disease is another result of mouth breathing at night.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact East Village Dental Arts at (212) 979-6300 for a full evaluation and treatment options. Our highly trained dentists can evaluate your symptoms and discuss your treatment options.

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