man lays with his mouth wide open in bed, snoringAt Bite Align in Fort Atkinson, our sleep dentist looks at sleep apnea and other dental problems and evaluates how they affect the body as a whole. What most patients don’t know is how sleep apnea affects your dental health in addition to your overall health and quality of life. Without sleep apnea treatment, patients don’t just have to worry about an increased risk of heart problems but also developing certain dental issues. Learn how sleep apnea affects your dental health and what you can do to protect yourself.

Sleep Apnea Causes Cracked or Worn Teeth

One of the first ways sleep apnea affects your dental health is by causing cracked or worn teeth. Bruxism (clenching and grinding your teeth) is a habit more common in those with sleep apnea. Those who clench and grind their teeth might also have TMJ in addition to sleep apnea. Clenching and grinding your teeth while you sleep can eventually wear down your teeth or cause small stress fractures. Without wearing a nightguard or treating your sleep apnea, the tooth wear and cracks will only get worse. Patients might experience tooth sensitivity and tight jaw muscles.

Sleep Apnea Causes Jaw Pain

If you clench or grind your teeth and experience jaw pain, there is a good chance you also have a temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking or popping in the jaw, neck pain, and frequent headaches. So what’s the connection between TMJ and sleep apnea? When you have sleep apnea, your airway collapses at night and forces the lower jaw to push forward. When your jaw isn’t resting correctly, it can put pressure on the jaw joint and cause TMJ.

Sleep Apnea Increases Your Risk of Cavities

The last way sleep apnea affects your dental health is by increasing your risk of cavities. When someone has sleep apnea and it’s untreated, they usually breathe with their mouth open at night and oftentimes during the day too. Mouth breathing can cause dry mouth which means there is limited saliva production. Saliva production is responsible for washing away bacteria and debris from the teeth. When the bacteria and debris aren’t washed away they can build up to cause tartar and eventually cavities.

How Treating Sleep Apnea Can Help

After you receive a sleep apnea diagnosis, Dr. Stafford can provide you with sleep apnea treatment to prevent all of these dental problems from occurring. Dr. Stafford will also evaluate you for TMJ and incorporate TMJ treatment into your sleep apnea treatment plan to resolve all problems at once. With the correct treatment plan, you can protect your teeth and improve your health and quality of life. We can also send you over to our trusted team BKS Dental to fix any dental problems you might have.

If you’re ready to find a sleep apnea treatment in Fort Atkinson that works for you, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Stafford today by calling (920) 563-7323.