Your snoring causes an inadvertent disturbance in your partner’s peaceful sleep or other members of your family. Snoring is a physiological phenomenon, and each one of us snores at some point, but chronic snoring that frequently awakens you from sleep may be an indicator of some severe underlying disease that you are suffering from without any other symptom. Everyone desires a pleasant and peaceful sleep after toiling the entire day, and if conditions like snoring hinder this sleep, or the hoarse sound disturbs your partner, it should be a matter of concern. After reading this, you will be able to know how to stop snoring in the best way.
What causes snoring?
There are multiple causes of snoring, which can be due to the abnormal anatomy of your oropharyngeal structures, or due to other pathology. The major culprit behind snoring is narrow airways. Some of the prime causes of snoring include:
Abnormal anatomy of your mouth: Snoring is produced when the air passes through your air passages, which are in a relaxed state at the time of sleeping. The flappy muscles vibrate and produce abnormal sounds. If your air passage is inherently narrow, it increases the turbulence while air passes, and produces loud, harsh, snoring sounds. An elongated and bulky uvula may also obstruct and thereby narrow the air passage. Sometimes, the tongue may fall backwards and during sleeping, causing an obstruction.
Obesity: Obese people have excessive bulky tissues in their airway, which leads to narrowing of airways.
Irrational alcohol consumption: Alcohol acts as a muscle relaxant, and excessive intake before going to bed disables your muscles from protecting the airways. The same phenomenon is repeated when air passes through flabby muscles.
Nasal problems: The nasal and oral passages communicate at the back in the oropharynx, and any problem in the nose can also lead to snoring. A deviated nasal septum or chronically congested nose can lead to the production of harsh sounds during sleeping when the breathing passively occurs via the mouth.
Inappropriate sleeping position: This is a lifestyle habit that causes snoring without any underlying pathology. The main culprit of snoring is the narrowed airways, and any activity that does so will produce snoring. Sleeping in a prone or supine position leads to the muscles falling and compressing the airways under the effect of gravity.
Enlarged tonsils: These are commonly seen in children. The hypertrophic tonsils will compress the airways and produce harsh sounds even during the day.
What are the symptoms that indicate problematic snoring?
Snoring may or may not be associated with a critical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). If left untreated or undiagnosed, OSA may even prove to be life-threatening. Consider going to the doctor or a dentist for further evaluation if you have these symptoms:
- Excessive sleepiness during the day is indicative of chronic poor quality sleep at night
- Sudden pauses during breathing or frequent awakening gasping for air
- Problems while studying or concentrating
- Chest pain especially at night while sleeping
- Waking up frequently with a sore throat or pain in the throat
- Headache, restlessness, palpitations, or difficulty in breathing
- In children, poor performance in school, behavioural issues, and lack of ability to concentrate may indicate a serious underlying problem.
What are the lifestyle changes that can help you in preventing snoring?
Worried about how to reduce snoring? Follow these lifestyle tips and ways to stop snoring to have a peaceful sleep:
- Reduce weight: Obesity is one of the leading causes of snoring and is also a risk factor for a plethora of cardiovascular diseases. Losing weight can help you in preventing not just snoring but leading an overall healthy life.
- Sleeping on your side: Sleeping on your side will eliminate the effect of gravity and prevent the muscles from falling backwards and obstructing your airway.
- Elevated your head end: You can try this by putting a pillow under your head, which can raise it to approximately 4 inches. This inclined position will also prevent the muscles from falling directly backwards.
- Use nasal decongestants: If you have a blocked nose, use any over the counter decongestant nasal spray or nasal drops. Nasal strips can also be used.
- Avoid alcohol intake: Alcohol is a substance whose side effects make a long list. Avoid alcohol before going to bed. This will keep your natural defences to prevent muscles from falling back intact and will prevent snoring.
- Quit smoking: Smoking has a direct effect on your respiratory passages. Thus, if you quit smoking, it will have a positive impact on your overall life as well as in preventing snoring.
- Use a humidifier: A humidifier or vaporiser will prevent congestion of your nose and throat and keep them clear.
If home remedies and lifestyle changes don’t work, how will a doctor treat snoring?
Some of the snoring remedies available include:
- Anti-snoring aids: These are oral appliances that will position your jaw and other oral structures such as the soft palate and tongue in an appropriate way while sleeping, preventing them from obstructing your airways. Our dentist will take an impression of your oral cavity structures and send it to a laboratory where a custom snore guard will be prepared. This anti-snoring aid is technically referred to as a Mandibular Advancement Slit (MAS). In the initial days, excessive salivation, jaw pain, or jaw discomfort can occur, but gradually your mouth will adapt to sleeping with stop snoring aids. These are to be worn only during the night and are a good cure for snoring.
- Surgical intervention: An upper airway surgery may be required to open up the narrow airways. An ENT specialist will be able to tackle the problem quite effectively. In the case of children, surgery may be required to remove the enlarged tonsils. Somnoplasty is a minimally invasive intervention that is performed to remove bulky tissues surrounding the upper airways. Another surgery which is done is the surgery for soft palate which may be compressing the airways.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): This is a useful but very least preferred method to stop snoring. It involves sleeping with a mask covering your mouth and nose. A small bedside pump is attached to the mask, which supplies pressurised air continuously and keeps the airway intact. It is used when snoring is concomitant with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. However, people find it quite uncomfortable to sleep with a mask, and hence it is least preferred.
Can a dentist help you to stop snoring?
The answer is a big YES. The dentists are well versed with the anatomy of the mouth and not just confined to the teeth. The underlying problem that causes snoring revolves around the upper airways and the oral structures. Therefore, a dentist is indeed the best candidate who can address and help with snoring issues.
Sleep is precious, and you should not compromise with poor quality of sleep. If you or your partner have a snoring problem, don’t ignore it. Snoring may be an indication that demands your attention and further evaluation by a professional. If you are looking for snoring remedies that work, visit Conway House Dental Practice in High Wycombe for the best snoring solutions. We are a team of experienced dentists who are highly proficient in tackling all your oral issues under one roof. For further assistance, call us and our staff would be happy to solve your problems.