The Connection Between Oral Health and Sleep Apnea

The Connection Between Oral Health and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a widespread sleep problem that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep, this condition can have a significant impact on one’s overall well-being.

While the primary symptoms of sleep apnea generally revolve around disrupted breathing patterns and sleep disturbances, an often overlooked aspect of this disorder is its connection to oral health. In this article, we will mention the relationship between oral health and sleep apnea.

For more information and to get dental help, you can contact Smile Team Turkey, which serves as an experienced dental clinic.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes people to stop or shallow their breathing while they are asleep. These pauses, known as apneas, can last a few seconds to several minutes and can happen repeatedly during the night. Normal sleep cycles are disturbed by this problem and it has various effects like feeling tired or sleepy, having headaches, and mood swings.

Treatment for sleep apnea depends on its severity, but this disorder can often be treated with lifestyle changes, medications, oral appliances, or surgery. However, keep in mind that it is a condition that may severely impact people’s lives and increase the risk of experiencing potentially fatal complications and incidents. That is why it should be taken into consideration to avoid its potential risks.

The Role of Oral Health 

The connection between oral health and sleep apnea is linked to each other. Even though this health issue is seen as a kind of sleep disorder, there are many studies in this field that have shown its relation to oral health.

According to the researchers, oral health can play a significant role in the development and management of sleep apnea. For instance, some dental conditions like dry mouth, bruxism, and temporomandibular joint can coexist with this disorder. Such dental conditions can lead to mouth breathing during sleep which is also related to this problem. For this reason, it is significant to understand the association between oral health and sleep apnea.

Dry Mouth 

Dry mouth can be one of the symptoms and oral health issues linked to sleep apnea. Someone with the disorder may breathe through their mouth instead of their nose during episodes of this disorder. Mouth breathing can lead to increased airflow and reduced moisture in the oral cavity, resulting in dry mouth. In addition, the changed breathing patterns may result in a decrease in salivation, which contributes to dryness. For this reason, dry mouth is one of the effects of this disorder on oral health.

Temporomandibular Joint 

The small joint that joins your jaw to your skull is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. In this regard, the conditions known as temporomandibular joint disorder impacts the jaw joints as well as the nearby muscles and ligaments. These conditions can lead to several problems such as jaw pain, headaches and difficulty opening or closing the mouth.

Studies have shown that there is a link between temporomandibular joint and sleep apnea. People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea frequently suffer from an airway collapse, which triggers the body to move the lower jaw forward to open the airway. The temporomandibular joint constantly moves during the night, which can put stress and tension on the jaw joint and raise the risk of TMJ disorder.

Mouth Breathing 

One of the factors that affects both oral health and sleep apnea is mouth breathing. Such sleep disorders are more likely to develop in people who breathe through their mouth instead of their nose.

During sleep, mouth breathing can make the airways more resistant. This may make it harder to breathe in and out, which could make breathing issues visible and frequent. Thus, common symptoms of this disorder, such as snoring can be caused by the increased resistance and turbulence of air passing through the mouth.

The airway also becomes either completely or partially blocked during obstructive sleep apnea, making breathing difficult. For instance, the soft tissues at the back of the throat may relax or collapse, resulting in this problem. When this occurs, the person may automatically start breathing through their mouth instead of their nose to get rid of the obstruction.


Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a condition characterized by the grinding or clenching of teeth. Even though the main reason why they are linked to each other is not certain, bruxism can be associated with sleep apnea as well. Many researchers have found out that both bruxism, an oral health problem and this disorder have the potential to trigger each other.

In the case of a bruxism problem, your teeth are at risk of getting broken and cracked. That is why you should see a dentist to overcome this dental problem and its potential risks. As Smile Team Turkey, we offer you the best treatment for your dental problem with our qualified dentists in Turkey.

Preventative Measures and Treatments

Preventative measures and treatments for oral health and sleep apnea can vary depending on the specific condition and individual circumstances. However, there are common measures and treatments for both oral health and sleep apnea, which include:

  • Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle: The risks of developing this disorder can be lowered by forming healthy habits like regular exercise, a balanced diet, and weight management. Maintaining a healthy weight can benefit both oral health and sleep apnea because obesity is a significant risk factor for the condition.
  • Sleep Position: Instead of sleeping on your back, sleeping on your side can help prevent the collapse of the airway. This way, both the risk of this sleep disorder symptoms like dry mouth and its side effects on oral health are reduced.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: In this type of treatment, positive airway pressure is used to maintain a constant pressure in the airways during inspiration and expiration of the respiratory cycle. Thus, this is highly effective in treating this disorder, and reducing its symptoms like dry mouth.
  • Maintaining Oral Hygiene: Paying attention to dental hygiene is very essential to reduce the potential risks of dental problems like mouth breathing, dry mouth, and bruxism. These problems are also commonly linked to this disorder. People who have this disorder often experience such dental problems. That is why they need to practice good oral hygiene.

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