Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Periodontal Disease

sleep apnea HenricoDid you know that having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) could increase your risk for common oral health conditions?  Sleep apnea has many unpleasant side effects; one of them being, an increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is one of the most destructive and commonly acquired oral health conditions a person can have. Fortunately, treating sleep apnea can reduce your risk for this condition and improve your overall quality of life.

The Correlation between Sleep Apnea and Gum Health

Obstructive sleep apnea has many unwanted side effects. From general malaise to increased blood pressure, sleep apnea can take a big toll on a person’s well being. Adding further insult to injury, sleep apnea increases the risk for gum disease. This is due to a few factors. First, repeated episodes of apnea followed by resumed breathing tend to make people breathe more through their mouths than their noses while sleeping. Breathing through your mouth will have a drying effect on soft oral tissue. Healthy gums need moisture. When the gums become dry, they become irritated, thus making them more susceptible to inflammation and infection. Secondly, sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea will weaken the immune system. A weakened immune system has trouble fighting infection, including the infection associated with gum disease.

How Gum Disease Destroys the Oral Health System

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 can destroy the gingiva, teeth, and bone. In fact, periodontal disease is the chief cause of tooth loss among adults. Periodontal disease also involves a severe infection, which can enter the bloodstream and may produce a number of health complications. Since advanced gum disease is aggressive and destructive, patients should seek professional treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment Options

There are non-surgical and surgical treatment options for OSA. Some patients with sleep apnea can mitigate their symptoms by using oral appliances and CPAP therapy. Others may require surgery to remove excessive oral tissue that blocks airways during sleep. Our oral surgeons offer surgical treatment for sleep apnea.

For more information, call our practice to schedule a consultation today!

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