Why Do People Snore? Is It a Sign of a Bigger Problem?

woman snoring needs to visit snoring dentist in Denver, CO

If you or a loved one is a loud snorer, in addition to making life harder for others, it can be a warning sign of some health issues. Before tackling the problem, it helps to know what’s causing the loud rumblings. As you continue reading, a snoring dentist in Denver, CO explains what may be the catalyst and how to fix it.

The Physiology of Snoring

The uproarious noise associated with snoring is the result of the airway becoming partially blocked, which makes it difficult for oxygen to flow. This causes a vibration as the air attempts to bypass the throat muscles during inhalation. Here are the parts of the mouth that are affected:

  • Tongue
  • Soft palate
  • Uvula (the fleshy part that hangs at the back of the throat)
  • Tonsillar pillars (the fleshy part on the outer edges of the throat)
  • Pharyngeal walls (the tissue that lines the throat)

While sleeping, the muscle tone throughout the body decreases, which is necessary to get adequate rest. When there is snoring, however, it is a sign that the throat muscles have become too relaxed.

Is Snoring an Illness?

It is important to keep in mind that snoring is NOT an illness. Instead, it’s an indicator of an underlying issue, and one that should not be ignored. The following can contribute to snoring:

  • Sleep Position – Sleeping on the back naturally narrows the airway as gravity causes the tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of the throat.
  • Mouth Anatomy – Some people are born with a narrow throat or large tonsils/adenoids that obstruct airflow. Excessive weight gain can also be a contributor to narrowing the airway.
  • Sleep Deprivation – Being sleep deprived can make the throat muscles more relaxed than normal and cause snoring.
  • Alcohol Consumption – Overindulgence in alcohol can cause the muscles in the throat to become flaccid during sleep, resulting in a partial or complete blockage.
  • Nasal Congestion or a Deviated Septum – A structural defect in the nose may possibly prevent the natural flow of air during sleep and cause snoring.

Snoring can also be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which refers to frequent stoppages in breathing that also causes sleep interruptions throughout the night. A serious condition that can potentially be life-threatening, it requires treatment from a skilled sleep dentist.

How Snoring and OSA Can be Treated

The first step to treating OSA and eliminating snoring is to remedy the airflow problem. A sleep dentist can custom design an oral appliance that comfortably fits into the mouth. It works by gently shifting the jaw forward to allow oxygen to flow freely.

Whether you or someone you care about is a snorer, there is help available. Soon, getting peaceful rest at night can be a reality for everyone.

About the Author

Dr. Gary M. Radz understands how much loud snoring and OSA can alter one’s life, as he and his wife currently receive sleep therapy with an oral appliance. Thus, patients are able to benefit from a level of compassion, empathy and expertise that is unmatched. Dr. Radz effectively treats snoring and OSA at his private practice, and he can be reached for more information through his website.

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