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How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Overall Dental Health?

Posted on 8/7/2023 by Office of Dr. James A. Krippaehne
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Overall Dental Health?Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects many people. Studies estimate that 25 million American suffer from sleep apnea and 80% of them do not even know they have it. Sleep apnea is where there are interruptions in breathing when sleeping. This means that breathing starts and stops throughout the night.

Sleep apnea causes snoring or choking. It will cause one to wake up throughout the night. Although one may not be aware of the fact that they wake up throughout the night. However, they will wake up exhausted or drowsy. They may even experience headaches and jaw pain.

Effects Of Sleep Apnea on Dental Health

Sleep apnea has many effects on your overall health. However, it also interferes with your dental health. Here are a few effects that sleep apnea may have on your dental health;


Bruxism refers to teeth grinding or clenching of the jaw. Even though it's possible to grind your teeth during the day, it often occurs at night. Teeth grinding damages not only your teeth, but it will also cause severe headaches and jaw pain. Dentists often relate bruxism to sleep disorders. This means that sleep apnea can cause bruxism.

Dry Mouth

People who suffer from sleep apnea, often have dry mouth. This is because sleep apnea will often cause one to sleep with their mouth open so that they can breathe. Without saliva, food particles remain in the mouth. This will lead to gum diseases, tooth decay, and other infections. A dentist can treat most of these problems with antibiotics and fillings. However, if you do not address the actual cause, then the problem will continue after a while.

TMJ Disorders

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are often associated with sleep apnea. The TMJ connects both the upper and lower jaw. Sleep apnea will cause a patient to clench their jaws at night when sleeping and this causes pain to the TMJ. Clenching of the jaw also results in headaches and even teeth grinding.

If you suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea, it is best to consult with your dentist. Your dentist will give you a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan for your sleep apnea. The dentist will also offer a treatment plan for the dental issues that may have arisen because of sleep apnea.
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