Are you a chronic snorer, or do you live with a chronic snorer? Everybody snores sometimes, with colds and flu, allergies such as hay fever and drinking too much alcohol being common culprits for occasional snoring. However, some people experience chronic snoring, which as well as causing problems for anyone who shares a room with a snorer can also be indicative of a more serious underlying health condition.
In the simplest of terms, snoring is caused by an obstruction of the airway – so, for example, a stuffy nose when you have a cold. A bad sleeping position, being overweight and being a smoker can also increase your chances of snoring.
Sometimes, however, snoring can be caused by sleep apnoea. This condition affects about 4% of the UK population and involves the airway being completely blocked during sleep, which means that the sufferer stops breathing for short periods whilst sleeping. The natural reaction of the body is to wake you up, which means you will never be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep and will feel tired and irritable in the morning, even if you don’t remember you are frequently waking up.
The first port of call for patients with suspected sleep apnoea should be a sleep clinic, to confirm your diagnosis and discuss treatment options. However, few people realise that dentists are often able to provide an effective treatment for snoring, leading to a better night’s sleep for everyone and improved general health for the sufferer.
Amsel & Wilkins dentist John Adams has a special interest in snoring treatment. If you are a moderate to heavy snorer, he can fit you with a device called a mandibular advancement appliance, which is worn in the mouth overnight and holds the lower jaw in a forward position to keep your airway open, reducing or preventing snoring.
These devices can sometimes be useful in cases of sleep apnoea, too, although you should always consult a sleep clinic first.