Caring for an Elderly Parent With Special Dental Needs

Caring for an Elderly Parent With Special Dental Needs

Effects Sleep Apnea Has On Your Oral Health

Joe Lawrence

A lot of people wonder why their dentists ask them about their sleeping and snoring habits. If you wonder this, you should understand that it is because dentists are concerned with untreated sleep apnea, a condition that affects many people. Untreated sleep apnea is not only harmful to your health, but it can also have negative effects on a person's oral health. Because of this, dentists are often the first person to suspect that a person has sleep apnea, and dentists often suspect this after seeing the following problems.

Signs of teeth grinding

One sign that can indicate that a person may have sleep apnea is signs that he or she has bruxism. Bruxism is the dental term for tooth grinding, and this process will leave a person's teeth shortened in many cases, as it can be so powerful that it actually wears down tooth structure. Just because a person has bruxism does not automatically mean that he or she has sleep apnea; however, bruxism is a common trait of people with this sleep disorder. People with sleep apnea tend to be tense when sleeping, and clenching and grinding is a result of this.

Increased cavities

People with untreated sleep apnea also may have an increased spike in cavities, and this primarily occurs from grinding their teeth. When a person grinds his or her teeth while sleeping, the process of grinding weakens teeth. This makes teeth more susceptible to cavities, and people with untreated sleep apnea might suddenly start experiencing more cavities than usual.

Dry mouth

Sleep apnea also tends to cause the condition called xerostomia, or dry mouth. Dry mouth is a result of sleep apnea due to the way a person will often sleep when suffering from sleep apnea. A person with sleep apnea will likely snore and sleep with his or her mouth open. When this occurs, it dries out the person's mouth, and this dryness can last all day long. It's important to realize, too, that dry mouth is a condition that will also lead to an increase in cavities as saliva is needed to help keep the mouth clean.

In extreme cases, people can also lose teeth from living with sleep apnea and not knowing it. If you think you may have sleep apnea, or if you have any issues with your mouth or teeth, schedule a visit with a dental clinic of your choice, such as Jerry C Hu DDS Family Dentistry LLC, today.


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Caring for an Elderly Parent With Special Dental Needs

Caring for an elderly parent tends to be tough enough without the added stress of dealing with dental implants or dentures. But, the prospect is not the end of the world—there are many things you can do to ensure that your parent's dental health is not compromised without having to spend a lot of personal time doing the care yourself. Between working with the right dentist, hiring a service provider for part time work, and giving your parent the tools he or she needs to care for his or her own dental health at home, you'll find that dental health for your loved one isn't so tough or time consuming after all. Hopefully you are able to get the support and information you need right here.