Can Sleep Apnea Cause Gum Disease?

September 7, 2022
Woman with sleep apnea in Vero Beach concerned about gum disease

Brushing your teeth, flossing, and cutting back on sugary foods can all help to reduce the risk of gum disease. But did you know that the quality of your sleep can also have an impact on your oral health? Let’s talk about how sleep apnea in Vero Beach can endanger your smile and your overall wellness. We’ll also discuss how you can improve the quality of your rest and protect your gums from infection.

Sleep Apnea and Gum Disease: Understanding the Connection

Gum disease in Vero Beach is an infection of the gum tissue. It occurs when bacteria are able to sneak beneath the gumline. Many factors can contribute to its development, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder wherein a person experiences repeated pauses in their breathing throughout the night. Often, individuals with OSA breathe through their mouth rather than their nose. This can dry out the oral cavity. Without adequate saliva to wash them away, harmful bacteria can thrive and multiply in the mouth, eventually infecting the gum tissue.

Another way in which OSA can contribute to gum disease relates to bruxism (teeth grinding). Many individuals with OSA also suffer from bruxism. Over time, the pressure on the teeth can damage the gums, causing pockets to form between them and the teeth. Bacteria can easily accumulate in those pockets.

Sleep Apnea and Gum Disease Are a Dangerous Combination

At first, gum disease may not seem like a big deal. However, if it is left untreated, it can increase your risk of numerous health problems. For example, it is correlated with heart attack, stroke, preterm birth, and dementia.

OSA is also strongly associated with heart problems and numerous other issues. On its own, it can be detrimental to overall wellness. When paired with gum disease, it creates a high potential for health complications.

Improving Your Sleep and Protecting Your Smile

Here are some steps you can take to address OSA and maintain a healthy smile:

  • Seek OSA treatment. Something as simple as a custom oral appliance from a dentist can help you to breathe easily at night.
  • Visit your general dentist regularly. Attending a checkup and cleaning every six months can do much to reduce the risk of gum disease.
  • Eat a balanced diet. A healthy diet can help you to manage your weight, which can reduce the risk of OSA. It can also support sound oral health.

Obstructive sleep apnea and gum disease often go hand in hand. Caring for your smile and taking steps to improve the quality of your sleep can do much to protect your head-to-toe health.

Meet the Sleep Apnea Expert

Dr. Kenneth Mogell is an experienced dentist who has devoted much of his career to helping patients address sleep apnea via oral appliance therapy. He also has connections with skilled dentists who offer gum disease treatment. If you would like to learn how Dr. Mogell may be able to help you experience better rest and improved overall health, contact any of our convenient locations or call us at 772-882-6800.