What the Experts Think? This is a technical question that has no simple answer. In recent years, studies suggest a strong link between periodontitis and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The connection indicates the two share inflammatory responses. In other words, the inflammation present in periodontitis (severe gum disease) may have similar causes of inflammation found in people with sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea has many unwanted side effects. From general malaise to increased blood pressure, sleep apnea takes a toll on a person’s overall health and increases the risk for gum disease.
Why Does It Happen?
- Repeated episodes of sleep apnea followed by resumed breathing tend to make people breathe more through their mouths than their noses. Breathing through your mouth has a drying effect on soft oral tissue. Healthy gums need moisture. When the gums become dry, they become irritated, making them more susceptible to inflammation and infection.
- Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea weakens the immune system. A weakened immune system has trouble fighting infection, including that associated with gum disease.
Gum Infections and Sleep
The gums are an integral part of the oral health system. Gums support teeth and protect their roots from debris in the mouth. When gum disease advances it destroys the gingiva, teeth, and bone. Periodontal disease is the chief cause of tooth loss among adults. It also involves severe infection. Infection entering the bloodstream produces any number of health complications. Its impact on sleep and how our body reacts to rest can very well be another of its victims.
The Throat and Sinus Connection
Infections never stay in one part of the body. They travel in the bloodstream like vicious passengers they affect other body parts in their wake. Consider sleep apnea as connected to our breathing mechanism; consider the proximity of mouth and gums. It is not hard to see the impact oral health has on our breathing.
There are several non-surgical and surgical treatments for sleep apnea. Your physician can suggest one that best suits your condition. Some patients with sleep disorders mitigate their symptoms by using oral appliances and CPAP therapy. Surgery procedures remove excessive oral tissue that blocks airways during sleep.
If you live in the Paoli, PA area Think Oral Implants and Periodontics is here to answer questions you may have about sleep apnea and periodontal infection. Call us now at 610) 550-3333. Offices located at 250 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 215, Paoli, PA 19301