Snoring Prevention in Charleston, SC
Many people across the U.S. snore. Are you among them?
Why Do People Snore?
In most cases, snoring occurs when the flow of air from the mouth or nose to the lungs is altered in some way. Usually, snoring can be attributed to a narrowing in the airway.
As you sleep, you breathe in through your nose or mouth. This air passes along the roof of the mouth (the soft palate) to the back of the mouth (the pharynx), where the tongue and upper throat meet. This area can collapse during sleep, narrowing the passageway or even blocking it completely – a serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. When the passage narrows, the soft palate and the small bit of flesh in the back of your throat known as the uvula vibrate. This vibration presents as snoring.
Other structures in the back of the throat, such as the tonsils and the adenoids, can also vibrate. The smaller the airway becomes, the louder the snoring.
Snoring Risk Factors
A number of factors can contribute to snoring or make you more susceptible, including:
- Your throat's muscle tone – If muscle tone is lax, it's easier for the tissues to collapse. Low muscle tone can be attributed to a lack of fitness or the aging process.
- Your nasal passages – If your nasal passages are blocked, as may occur when you have a cold, it becomes more difficult to inhale. The extra effort can cause the airway to narrow. Chronic causes of narrow nasal passages include allergies and nasal polyps.
- Tissues in the mouth, nose, and throat – When tissues become enlarged, snoring occurs. Snoring in children is often attributed to enlarged tonsils.
- Your nasal anatomy – If you have a deviated septum, this can disturb the airflow through the nose.
- Your weight – Being overweight or obese can cause fat in the throat to narrow the airway.
- Alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant, and it affects the part of your brain that regulates your breathing. If your tongue and throat muscles become overly relaxed, they may partially block air movement.
- Medications – Many medications, particularly those that treat allergies, depression, and anxiety, can relax you or make you drowsy.
At James Island Dental Associates, we offer a couple of devices to help open one’s airway to decrease the vibration of the tissues in the back of the mouth. These devices work by gently pulling the lower jaw forward, which moves the tongue away from the back of the throat.
The devices consist of an upper tray and lower tray that are attached by elastics to gently pull the lower jaw forward. We do not manufacture these devices here in our office; instead, they are fabricated in a dental lab. Impressions are taken of your mouth so that the trays are custom-made to fit snugly and comfortably for each patient. The plastic straps are adjusted accordingly until the snoring decreases.
Call for an Assessment
If snoring is affecting your sleep, lifestyle, or marriage, give us call at James Island Dental Associates at (843)762-1234.