How A Mouth Guard Treats Sleep Apnea

If you believe you suffer from sleep apnea, you should talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear while you sleep. Wearing a mouth guard is one of the simplest treatment options for sleep apnea, and a mouth guard works well for many people who suffer from this common health condition. Wearing a mouth guard is a great option to try first, and here are several things to know about the way a mouth guard treats sleep apnea.

What is a mouth guard?

The easiest explanation of what a mouth guard is would be comparing it to what football players wear. A football player wears a plastic device in his mouth to protect his teeth. The device is custom-made so that it fits perfectly, and it prevents the person from experiencing trauma to his teeth during the game. With sleep apnea, this is exactly what a mouth guard is. It is something a person wears while sleeping, though, and it is designed to help treat sleep apnea.

What occurs during sleep apnea?

When a person has sleep apnea, he or she will stop breathing while asleep. This typically happens because the tissue in the back of the throat relaxes and restricts breathing efforts. Each time it happens, it places a lot of stress on the person's heart, and this can lead to a lot of different health problems. The goal of treating sleep apnea is keeping this airway open so that the person does not stop breathing. If you can accomplish this for a person with sleep apnea, this person will sleep better and will no longer have the high health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea.

How does a mouth guard help treat this condition?

Wearing a mouth guard while sleeping treats sleep apnea by repositioning the bottom part of the jaw. When this occurs, it repositions the tongue and the tissue in the back of the throat. This occurs because the mouth guard creates a gap between the upper and lower jaw, and this gap is enough to keep the person's airway open while sleeping. Not only will this treat sleep apnea, but it can also be enough to treat the symptoms and effects of sleep apnea, such as snoring.

Using a sleep apnea appliance is a great first step to try if you have sleep apnea, and it might work well for you. If you would like to learn more about treating sleep apnea, talk to a dentist today.