Link between Gum Disease and Sleep Apnea
Gum disease and sleep apnea are both common problems, but a recent study has found that they may be linked. The Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study, which was published in “The Journal of Periodontal Research,” evaluated almost 700 men between 47 and 77. They were examined for symptoms of both conditions. Researchers determined that men who were over 55 had a 2.5 percent higher risk of suffering from periodontal disease. Another study found that obstructive sleep apnea could lead to a fourfold increase in the risk of gum disease.
Obstructive sleep apnea affects as many as 40 percent of American men. It occurs when soft tissues in and around the throat collapse into the throat and obstruct the airway. Snoring is a common symptom. Periodontal disease affects more than half of people over 35 and is associated with gum inflammation, bleeding and recession. Left untreated, both conditions are associated with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Other factors that can increase your risk of both conditions include age, smoking habits, drinking and obesity.
Researchers theorized that the link between sleep apnea and periodontal disease may be a result of mouth breathing, which causes dry mouth. Oral bacteria thrive in these conditions, and saliva levels are insufficient for rinsing away the bacteria and neutralizing oral acids. Treatment may help reduce your risk and can help control your symptoms. Lifestyle changes, good dental hygiene and appropriate dental care can also help reduce the risks. Call us today to schedule your appointment.
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