Is Your Snoring a Sign of a Serious Health Problem?

A sleep problem can affect all aspects of your life ranging from job performance to your overall health. Snoring is one of the most common sleep problems facing Americans. Not only does it interrupt your sleep and disturb your sleep partner, but it can also be a warning of a serious health problem.

You snore when the soft tissues of your upper airway vibrate as you breathe during sleep. Factors that can lead to snoring include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Nasal obstruction

Frequent, loud snoring is often an indication of obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is a condition in which an individual repeatedly stops breathing for brief periods while they sleep. A doctor specializing in sleep disorders can perform a sleep evaluation to determine if your snoring is due to OSA. This typically involves a home apnea test or an overnight sleep study to monitor breathing patterns and oxygen levels during sleep.

A dentist can recommend a custom-made oral appliance that will help support your jaw and keep your airway open while you sleep and prevent snoring. The device is similar to a mouth guard or retainer and is easy to care for and use. There are currently more than 100 different oral appliances available to treat snoring and sleep apnea.