Chronic sleep deprivation can put you at higher risk for chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Oddly enough, the dentist is often the first person to diagnose a sleep disorder. In particular, “sleep apnea” is a condition that causes repeated breathing interruptions throughout the night. These breathing pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur thirty or more times per hour. While snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea, tooth-grinding (bruxism) is also a reliable indicator of sleep apnea. If the dentist finds evidence of tooth wear and/or receding gums, it may be an indication of nightly tooth grinding related to a potentially serious sleep problem.
Chronic sleep deprivation can also raise your risk of gum disease – or make existing periodontal problems worse. Research suggests that it’s more damaging than either chronic stress or daily alcohol use. Only smoking, which is the number one risk factor for gum disease, has a bigger impact. To schedule a consultation, please call West Brookfield Dental at 508-867-2777. Our office is located at 9 West Main St., West Brookfield.
P.S. A small jaw, a tongue with scalloped edges, and redness in the throat (caused by excessive snoring) are indicators of bruxism and related problems.