What Causes Snoring?

In susceptible people, when enough muscle relaxation occurs, the tongue presses on the soft floppy tissue at the back of the throat and the airway starts to collapse. The air rushes through this narrowed airway space and the increased air turbulence causes the flabby tissue to flap back and forth causing the annoying sound we know as snoring.

“Simple” or nuisance snoring is harmless unless it bothers the sleep of the bed partner. If the bed partner’s sleep is affected by this snoring, their health can truly be altered, and relationships can become strained. Oral appliance therapy can be extremely effective in helping these suffering bed partners.

Snoring tends to get worse as snorers get older or gain weight. The passage of time causes the tissues in the throat to sag and vibrate more while weight gain causes fat deposits to narrow the air passageway in the throat.

As the air passage in the throat narrows, whether through the passage of time or weight gain, more serious sleep-related breathing disorders such as sleep apnoea occur.

Interesting Facts About Snoring

  • The sound of snoring can cause the snorer to arouse from his sleep and prevent the snorer from going into deeper, more restful levels of sleep.
  • Bed partners of snorers have their sleep interrupted an average of 21 times a night compared to an average of 27 times per night for the snorer.
  • The more times per week someone snores, the more likely they are to have daytime sleepiness.
  • The decibel level from snoring can be high enough to cause damage to the human ear.
  • Bed partners of particularly noisy snorers have been shown to have a substantial incidence of partial deafness in the ear that faces their snoring bed mate.
  • The internal vibration in the inner ear caused by snoring makes the snorer highly susceptible to hearing loss.
  • Heavy snorers develop small lesions around the nerve endings in the pharynx resulting from the chronic vibration of the tissues during snoring. These lesions may play a role in the development of more serious sleep disorders.

Treatment of Snoring

In many cases, snoring leads to more serious health conditions. It is therefore advisable to consider snoring a treatable condition.

At Castlemaine Smiles we liaise with an experienced sleep dentist who provides professional analysis of sleep behaviour through an initial examination and a simple overnight take-home sleep test to exclude the more severe and dangerous sleep apnoea.

Oral appliance therapy is extremely effective in managing “simple” or nuisance snoring. Our patients generally report that they no longer feel embarrassed sleeping with their bed partners.

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