Snoring: Causes and Treatments

Many people will struggle with the very common condition of snoring. It happens which the back of your throat vibrates, causing the sound that we refer to as snoring.  This problem can be brought on by something temporary like dealing with a cold, while others struggle with snoring on a regular basis.

Causes of Snoring

Understanding the causes of snoring will help you determine what the best solution is for eradicating the situation.

  • Relaxed Muscles

When you sleep your mouth may open slightly, which can be due to your nostrils not bringing in enough air for you to be able to sleep properly.  Having your mouth open causes the muscles in the back and roof of your mouth to vibrate and make a snoring sound.

  • Swollen or Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids

When your body is fighting off infection from a cold or other respiratory condition, the tonsils and adenoids swell.  The snoring occurs because, as in the first scenario, you have to open your mouth to compensate for the lack of air, causing the muscles in the back of your throat to vibrate.

  • Deviated Septum

The part of the nose the splits the nostrils vertically is called the septum. This piece of cartilage allows you to breathe evenly from both sides of your nose. Some people have a deviated septum, which means it’s off to one side.  This condition causes the flow of air in each nostril to be different, affecting the way you breathe.  Many patients with a deviated septum snore in their sleep because they can’t get enough air. This causes the same situation as in the previous scenario.

  • Enlarged Turbinates

Turbinates, another component found in the nose, help prevent air from rushing in too fast, and dirt from entering your lungs. When the turbinates become swollen due to allergies, infections, or other conditions, snoring can occur.

  • Consumption of Alcohol

Alcohol consumption relaxes the nervous system and the muscles in the body, including the ones in the back of the throat, which is one of the common causes of snoring.

  • Genetics

Sometimes our genetic makeup gives us great gifts, like nice hair.  Other times we get stuck with undesirable traits like snoring.

  • Obesity

Obesity causes more fatty tissue in the back of the neck and throat. This extra weight essentially blocks the airway and compresses it, not allowing you to take in enough air, which results in snoring.

  • Aging

Aging causes the muscles throughout the body, including the ones in the mouth and throat, to relax.  While you sleep, the result is the vibrating sound known as snoring.

snoring-dental-newport-beachSnoring Treatments

Before determining which snoring treatments is best for you, it’s important to find the cause of the problem. Depending on what that is, the following solutions may work for you:

Surgery: Surgery to remove tonsils, adenoids, fix deviated septums, or remove excess fat from the back of the throat can be effective in eliminating your causes of snoring.

CPAP Machine: Snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA,) which is a serious condition where you actually stop breathing while you sleep. Most people with OSA wear a CPAP which is a machine that forces air into their nose and mouth, opening the airway.

While CPAPs are very successful, many patients find this solution inconvenient. CPAP machines come with tubes and masks that can be difficult to wear. They can be embarrassing to be seen with. Traveling with a CPAP can be cumbersome and many times a special kind of water is needed to make it work.

Snoring Appliance: For people that suffer from snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea, there may be a simpler solution available.

An oral appliance that’s worn while you sleep has proven to be a highly effective treatment. The mouthpiece is a device that looks similar to the mouth guards that athletes wear. One hard acrylic tray fit over each arch of the mouth, and are connected by two flexible straps on each side. The straps are angled in a way that allows the bottom jaw to protrude forward, opening the airway, and preventing snoring.

There are many benefits to a snoring appliance:

  • Comfortable
  • Quiet
  • Convenient
  • Portable
  • No electricity required
  • No special water needed
  • Easy to clean and care for
  • Affordable
  • You can avoid surgery

Finding The Best Solution For You

If you’ve been struggling with snoring or think you have sleep apnea you should seek the help of a healthcare professional right away.  Your dentist or primary physician may instruct you to undergo a sleep study test which will determine your level of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. The results will determine how to proceed with getting your condition under control.

Snoring and OSA can cause serious threats to your health. If you need help in deciding which route to go to get you treated give Dr. Yazdan, our Newport Beach dentist a call today.  We are happy to help

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