Category Archives: heavy snoring

Improve Quality Of Sleep With Simple Tips

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it may be because you feel tired and run down during the day or nod off easily. However, sleep apnea has side effects that can be far worse, and even deadly.

Health risks associated with sleep apnea include high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, impotency and depression. Behind the wheel, sleep apnea sufferers are said to be more dangerous than drunk drivers.

A common treatment for sleep apnea is a C-PAP device. An acronym for continuous positive airway pressure, this device includes a hose that is connected to a fan. The hose attaches to a mask worn over the face and air is forced into airway passages throughout the night.

While effective in its task to supply the body with sufficient oxygen during sleep, these contraptions are bulky and challenging for some people. User complaints include feeling claustrophobic, unable to move around in bed, and making traveling a chore. Unfortunately, these issues are likely why only 22 percent of people who have C-PAP devices are estimated to be consistent users.

In our office, we’ve successfully treated a number of individuals with sleep apnea or who are heavy snorers (often a precursor of sleep apnea). Using a custom-made , FDA approved device that’s worn in the mouth during sleep, most mild to moderate sleep apnea can be resolved.

The best way to determine if you truly have sleep apnea is to have a sleep study performed. This can be arranged through your physician and may be covered by insurance. Until you have an accurate diagnosis, however, try the tips below to help you get the best quality of sleep possible:

  1. Sleep on your side.
    This helps to keep your airway open & reduces the potential for heartburn and acid reflux.
  2. Elevate the head of your bed 6-8 inches.
    Place several pillows between the box spring and the mattress, positioned under the mattress at the head of the bed. Avoid stacking pillows under your head since it can lead to neck issues.
  3. Use Breathe RightR nasal strips.
    These come in small or large and it helps to purchase the appropriate size. The clear ones are best for sensitive skin. There is a helpful video on Breathe Right’s website that demonstrates how it works and how to use it. (https://www.breatheright.com/how-breathe-right-strips-work/try-breathe-right.html) Avoid generic brands and the advanced versions.
  4. Use nasal spray every night right before bed.
    Begin by blowing your nose to clear it. Consider a hot shower before bed since inhaling steam can loosen congestion. Our patients give us the best feedback about Flonase (available over the counter) rather than Afrin.
  5. Keep your bedroom dark.
    Make sure the room is perfectly dark while you’re sleeping. You can use a mask over your eyes. Dim lights for an hour or two leading up to sleep time. Avoid using electronics with a screen within two hours of bedtime, which interferes with melatonin levels. Avoid laying down within 30 minutes of eating as this will increase your risk of heartburn.
  6. Keep your bedroom cool.
    Studies show that the ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees. A programmable thermostat can be set to drop the temperature down to that level late into the night and back up to more comfortable levels in the morning.
  7. Keep the air clean and at the right humidity.
    An air cleaner helps if your furnace system is old. Otherwise, change the air filter on your furnace every month and use one with high filtration. Use a humidifier in the winter if your house is dry. The humidity in your bedroom should be between 30 & 50%.
  8. Use your oral sleep appliance EVERY NIGHT.
    Once you have an oral appliance, it’s important that your airway becomes accustomed to the new open path at the back of your throat down to your lungs. Regular nightly use ensures it stays open.

For your health, it is important to get sufficient, restful sleep every night. Once diagnosed, we will be happy to discuss a custom-designed oral sleep appliance during a no-charge consultation. For many individuals, these appliances are the best way to overcome sleep apnea.

Call 586-739-2155 to arrange a consultation.

When Mouth Is Dry, Oral Bacteria Run Rampant

Hot, parched, arid, dry… words that should not be used to describe the inside of your mouth. However, it doesn’t take much to dry a mouth out, and some of the ways this can occur may surprise you.

First, let’s discuss why a dry mouth is a problem, other than it just feels bad. Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleansing agent. It serves as a rinse that removes food particles from the mouth. Combined with brushing and flossing, good saliva flow helps to keep bacteria levels under control.

When saliva flow is compromised, oral bacteria are able to reproduce and multiply quickly.  As bacteria accumulate, a sticky film forms on teeth and gums from this buildup. As bacteria coat the interior of your mouth, bad breath begins.

If this film (known as plaque) is not removed daily, it can hardened into a concentrated mass of oral bacteria. This hardened form of bacteria is commonly referred to as tartar, or calculus. Tartar attaches to teeth and eats away at tooth enamel and gum tissues.

Oral dryness is one of the biggest influences in developing gum disease. Even though poor oral hygiene is a key factor when it comes to bacteria overload, dry mouth is a common contributor because it has many causes.

Common drying factors include smoking, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine (coffee, colas, chocolate), and side effects of some medications. Other drying causes may surprise you. In addition to mouth breathing (most often from snoring and sinus problems), some illnesses or health conditions can lead to frequent mouth breathing.

Aging is another common factor as our bodies produce less oral moisture in our senior years. People who have Sjogren’s Syndrome or are undergoing treatment for HIV or cancer are more susceptible to dry mouth.

So, how do you avoid having a dry mouth (and the subsequent bad breath and oral health risks associated with it)? First, be committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home. This includes twice daily brushing (at least two minutes per time), daily flossing, limiting caffeine and having 6-month dental cleanings and exams. These visits are designed to remove tartar buildup that has accumulated between visits BEFORE damage can occur.

Rather than reach for a soft drink, choose bottled water instead. Most colas contain caffeine, which actually dehydrate your system rather than moisten it. Along with the sugar contained in most colas, you’ve got a recipe for costly dental problems.

Also, consider using an oral rinse to replenish moisture if your mouth is frequently dry. Certainly, DON’T smoke or use other nicotine products.

It is also important to be proactive when dry mouth becomes an ongoing problem. While oral bacteria can lead to gum disease, cavities and tooth loss, research has also found it is an inflammatory trigger for health problems elsewhere in the body.

Studies have found a correlation between oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, pre-term babies, memory loss and even impotency. Obviously, oral bacteria is potent stuff.

If you don’t think oral bacteria is a problem, notice just how quickly the sticky film of plaque can form in the brief time between brushing in the morning and at night. Now, imagine the damage these reproducing organisms can do without the continual cleansing action of saliva.

Oral Bacteria Are Destructive Organisms. Oral Dryness Supports Their Reproduction.
Oral Bacteria Are Destructive Organisms. Oral Dryness Supports Their Reproduction.

Remember, oral bacteria are living organisms. This means they eat and produce waste – in your mouth! YUCK! That image, in itself, should be good incentive to keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum!

Rather than deal with dry mouth problems that can require expensive and time consuming treatment, let’s work together to help you prevent these problems in the first place.

Call 586-739-2155 to arrange an exam. Or, ask for a free consultation to begin. This will allow you to meet us and have your questions answered in a no-cost, no obligation conversation.

Weight Can Be Affected By Sleep Quality

It’s the first week of January. Drive by any fitness center and you’ll see a parking lot full of new and rededicated members. Trying to shed pounds through a treadmill takes an enormous amount of time and energy. Although we applaud those who want to tone and boost stamina, weight loss this way is a long, slow process. This is probably why the parking lot will look much differently by the end of March.

Want to lose weight? Begin by checking your quality of sleep. Through scientific research, we now have a better understanding of how the brain functions and plays a prominent role in our lives.

Based on findings surrounding the importance of restful sleep, I decided to become trained in oral sleep devices to offer to our patients in need years ago. The severe (and even deadly) health repercussions of sleep disorders made me determined to help heavy snorers and sleep apnea sufferers.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that people who suffer from disorders like sleep apnea may find it harder to begin or sustain an exercise program due to daytime sleepiness and fatigue. However, being overweight not only contributes to sleep problems such as sleep apnea, sleep problems can contribute to obesity.

The National Sleep Foundation cites a 1999 study by scientists at the University of Chicago. The study found that accumulating a sleep debt in just less than a week can impair metabolism and disrupt hormone levels. The study restricted 11 healthy young adults to 4 hours of sleep for 6 nights. Researchers found the participants’ ability to process glucose (sugar) in the blood not only declined, some fell to the level of diabetics. (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/obesity-and-sleep/page/0/1)

In another recent study, it was revealed that sleep quality affects the mix of gut bacteria that impacts whether you are lean or obese. The natural circadian rhythm of our bodies has peaks and lulls that determine certain functions, such as when to sleep. Apparently, intestinal bacteria have a circadian rhythm, too. These help in the production of serotonin and neuro-transmitters that influence sleep.

During sleep, good gut bacteria sweep away the build-up of ‘bad’ bacteria. Researchers noted that insufficient sleep can hamper the ability of the good bacteria to sweep out the bad kind. This leads to an imbalance of the two, which can contribute to anxiety, depression, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), ADD, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Weight gain and obesity from insufficient sleep has to do with the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates the appetite while leptin sends the brain a message when you are full.

Lack of sleep suppresses the production of leptin, leaving you feeling less satisfied after eating. Too little sleep makes this worse by increasing ghrelin levels, which stimulates your appetite so you are hungry more often. When these two hormonal imbalances collide, the result is weight gain.

Now that scientists have found the additional complication of imbalanced intestinal bacteria, sleep is taking a higher priority in healthy living commitments. While the recommended amount of sleep is 7 hours each night, though, nearly 35% of American adults get less.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. In addition to weight gain and obesity, sleeping less than seven hours is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, migraines, depression and impotency. (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html)

Symptoms of sleep apnea are typically daytime fatigue, being more accident prone, nodding off easily during the day, poor attention span and alertness, and feeling cranky or unmotivated. It has been said that sleep apnea sufferers behind the wheel are more dangerous than drunk drivers.

In the past, a common remedy for sleep apnea has been CPAP therapy. However, many who have the devices are not consistent users, citing feeling confined, claustrophobic, embarrassed or being uncomfortable with the noise. For those with mild to moderate sleep apnea, we make custom-fitted, FDA-approved oral devices that are small and comfortable so they do not interfere with sleep.

Begin with a free consultation to have your questions answered thoroughly. We can discuss costs, payment options and even put you in touch with patients who have opted for oral appliance therapy and now sleep restfully every night!

Don’t give up on the treadmill, though. Just give your potential to lose weight a leg up by tending to your quality of sleep. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles.

Quality Of Sleep Affects Weight

Now through the end of the year, it will get harder and harder to step on the scale. Halloween, tailgating, Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas — watching one’s weight during this time of year is quite the challenge. For those who have sleep disorders, the challenge is even greater.

The obesity rate (that’s ‘obese,’ not just fat) is at 35% of the U.S. adult population. This means that more than a third of the American population are beyond fat! It’s no secret that too much sugar in our diets and not getting enough exercise are at the root of most weight problems. However, studies now show that quality of sleep may be complicating your ability to lose weight.

What does sleep have to do with your weight? It’s actually a brain-driven issue. During sleep, the brain is anything but ‘at rest.’ Sleep provides the brain an active time to sweep out toxins and other obstacles that have accumulated during the day. This helps the brain to restore itself to peak efficiency to efficiently regulate hormones and other functions that support the body’s entire system.

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that deprives the brain of sufficient oxygen. This isn’t good. It’s no wonder that Sleep Apnea has been associated with serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, and impotency.

But, here’s the glitch when it comes to your weight: In addition to posing tremendous health risks, Sleep Apnea alters the brain’s ability to regulate hunger controls.

As sleep disorders are depleting your energy levels, poor sleep quality creates a reaction in the brain that triggers carbohydrate cravings. You may have noticed that eating something sweet or carbohydrate-laden gives you a quick pick-me-up.  Craving these is the brain’s way of helping you seek out energy to get you through the day when you feel groggy.

Of course, without staying active and energetic during the day, you burn fewer calories. Add brain signals for carbohydrate cravings to the mix and weight gain is the natural result. While people with sleep disorders (including heavy snoring) often feel their lack of willpower is to blame for packing on the pounds, many are simply up against the odds with this double whammy.

When the body is fatigued and the brain is urging you to eat eat eat, just maintaining your weight is a challenge. The reversal of this is simple, however. When the brain receives adequate oxygen during sleep, it can do its nightly maintenance and keep the body operating at peak capacity. With adequate, restful sleep, the brain doesn’t need to trigger carbohydrate cravings to move you through the day. And, you feel more energetic and motivated for activity.

For many Sleep Apnea sufferers, the standard treatment recommendation has been CPAP therapy. This is a mask worn over the face that is attached to a hose. The hose is connected to equipment that uses a fan to force oxygen into the airway during sleep. Although effective in its task, many CPAP users don’t wear their devices on a consistent basis. A large percentage claim they can’t get comfortable in bed, feel claustrophobic, find the devices noisy, complain they are inconvenient and even cite embarrassment at having to wear them.

For individuals who suffer with mild to moderate levels of Sleep Apnea, there is a simple alternative. We offer an FDA-approved method to restore sufficient oxygen during sleep without the bulk, noise, confinement and awkwardness of CPAP devices. By sleeping with a custom designed oral appliance, the need for wearing CPAP is eliminated.

These oral appliances are small, comfortable, and won’t interfere with your ability to sleep soundly. They are effective for many who suffer with Sleep Apnea as well as those who are heavy snorers (a typical precursor of Sleep Apnea).

If you’ve watched your weight climb as your energy has waned, lack of willpower may actually be a small part of the problem. In addition to frequent carb cravings, Sleep Apnea symptoms include daytime fatigue, a sluggish feeling, nodding off easily, lack of alertness or motivation, and feeling foggy. These problems will not go away until restful sleep is restored with sufficient oxygen intake.

Begin with a no-cost Consultation to discuss an effective and comfortable appliance made to fit the contours of your mouth. If desired, we can also put you in touch with patients who wear these simple oral appliances and now sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.

Call toll free 866-9-Smiles to schedule or to learn more.

Sleep Apnea Can Affect Sex Life

In this day and age, it’s not unusual for busy couples to be too tired for sex some nights. However, for more than 12 million American adults who suffer with sleep apnea, sleep disruption can lead to a much more complicated obstacle to a couple’s sex life.

Feeling tired and sleepy throughout the day are typical symptoms of sleep apnea, and can lead to weight gain and depression. Yet, the necessary periods of REM sleep are what give a boost to sex hormones. Insufficient sleep seems to decrease these levels, which is a major factor in one’s sex drive.

One study compared 80 women with sleep apnea to 240 women without sleep apnea. All study participants were age 65 and over. The results showed that sleep apnea sufferers had dramatically higher rates of sexual dysfunction.

A prior study included over 400 men who had been seen for suspected sleep apnea. Of those who were diagnosed with the condition, nearly 70% had erectile dysfunction compared with 34% for men without sleep apnea.

It has been noted that patients who undergo surgery to correct abnormalities that contribute to apnea see improvements in intimacy. Those who start CPAP therapy also report an increase in sexual relationships. Unfortunately, an estimated 22% of those prescribed with CPAP are consistent users.

CPAP isn’t for everyone. Many CPAP users complain about feeling claustrophobic, encumbered and are bothered by the noise. For adults with mild to moderate sleep apnea, the solution may be a simple, FDA-approved oral appliance.

These mouth pieces are custom designed so they are comfortable and won’t interfere with your sleep. They are easy to use and effective for many levels of sleep apnea and heavy snoring (often a precursor to sleep apnea).

Sleep apnea is nothing to ignore, regardless of your libido. It has been associated with a  number of serious health problems including weight gain and obesity, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, migraines and impotency.

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more about overcoming sleep apnea and regaining a full and healthy lifestyle! Or, schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions so you can determine if this is right for you.

 

Dry Mouth Cause Of Many Problems

As the weather warms, those fun-in-the-sun activities make us thirsty. With summer comes a barrage of TV commercials showing hot, thirsty people downing sodas to quench their thirst. As a dentist, I know how detrimental this is to your smile.

Before you load a cooler full of soft drinks, there are many reasons to choose bottled water instead. Most colas contain caffeine, which actually flush your system rather than moisturize it. And, caffeinated drinks are also drying to oral tissues. Throw in the sugar contained in most colas and you’ve got a recipe for costly dental problems.Soda Can

Oral dryness is a frequent cause of bad breath and one of the biggest influences in developing gum disease. Even though poor oral hygiene is a key factor when it comes to bacteria overload in the mouth, dry mouth is a common contributor because it has many causes.

Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleansing agent. It aids in the digestive process and serves as a constant rinse that removes food particles from the mouth. This helps to keep bacteria levels under control.

When saliva flow is compromised, oral bacteria are able to reproduce and accumulate at a rapid pace. Factors such as smoking, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine (coffee, colas, chocolate), and some medications can be drying to oral tissues.

Once saliva becomes unable to efficiently rinse the mouth, bacteria can quickly multiply. This is what forms a sticky film you may feel on teeth at the end of the day. This film is a buildup of oral bacteria.

If this film (known as plaque) is not removed daily, it can hardened into a concentrated mass of oral bacteria. This hardened form of bacteria is commonly referred to as tartar, or calculus. Tartar attaches to teeth and eats away at tooth enamel and gum tissues.

While some causes of dry mouth are obvious, others may surprise you. In addition to mouth breathing (which can result from snoring and sinus problems), some illnesses or health conditions can lead to frequent mouth breathing.

People who have Sjogren’s Syndrome or are undergoing treatment for HIV or cancer are more susceptible to dry mouth. Aging is a common factor as our bodies produce less oral moisture in our senior years.

Obviously, good saliva flow is necessary to help in the prevention of gum disease, cavities and even tooth loss. Rather than colas, drink plenty of water during the day. Also, consider using an oral rinse to replenish moisture if your mouth is frequently dry.

It is also important to be proactive when dry mouth becomes an ongoing problem. While oral bacteria can lead to gum disease, cavities and tooth loss, research has also found it is an inflammatory trigger for health problems elsewhere in the body.

Through years of research, the bacteria of gum disease has been linked to serious conditions far beyond the mouth. Studies have found a correlation between this bacteria and heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, pre-term babies, memory loss and even impotency. Obviously, oral bacteria is potent stuff.

If you aren’t worried about oral bacteria, look at it another way. Note how a sticky film can form on teeth in the brief time between brushing in the morning and at night. Now, imagine the damage these bacterial ‘critters’ can do without the continual cleansing action of saliva.

As a common cause for problems that can require expensive and time consuming treament, simple measures can help you avoid the damage of oral bacteria. Let’s work together to avoid the problems that come from dry mouth.

If you feel your mouth is occasionally dry during the day or struggle with factors that contribute to dry mouth, call 1-866-9-Smiles for an exam. Preventing problems in the first place is the best way to save both time and money!

Relationship Of Sleep Quality & Your Weight

After three and a half months, it’s not unusual to see some of those well-intended New Year’s Resolutions start to fizzle out. While the new year sees us begin the path to reaching our goals enthusiastically, things such as ‘losing weight’ seem to require a long, slow process and much effort. When results are minimal, the enthusiasm wanes and so does our commitment.

Losing weight is a good goal for a growing number of Americans. The obesity rate (those who are more than overweight or fat) is now at 35% of the U.S. adult population — over a third of the country’s population.

The ‘exercise more/eat less’ rule of thumb is not an easy task for anyone. However, it is like taking one-step-forward-two steps-back for those who have sleep disorders.

While sleep disorders tend to zap motivation and energy levels needed for being active, getting insufficient sleep also causes a reaction in the brain that revs up cravings. When you consider the boost you get after consuming sweets and carbohydrates, the brain tries to help perk you up when sleep deprivation drags you down. Being sleep deprived causes the brain to activate cravings for this quick form of energy as an easy solution of supplying you with energy.

When you add these cravings to feeling fatigued and run-down throughout the day, weight gain is the natural result. For those who are trying to lose weight under these conditions, they are fighting an uphill battle. Your body, including your brain, is simply working against your goals.

When sleep disorders, such as heavy snoring or sleep apnea, are resolved, the brain and heart are able to reboot from ample, restful sleep. Getting ample intake of oxygen during sleep enables the brain (and heart) to function efficiently and effectively, which carries you through the next day.  Waking up and feeling refreshed is a bonus. A brain that is able to function at its best during the night won’t kick your willpower to the curb during the day.

Sleep apnea has also been associated with a  number of serious health problems. In addition to weight gain and obesity, it has been linked to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, migraines and impotency.

A common treatment for sleep apnea is often C-PAP therapy, deemed the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to supplying patients with ample oxygen during sleep. However, an overwhelming percentage of those who are prescribed C-PAP devices can’t get comfortable with them or find them noisy, confining, embarrassing and inconvenient. For those with mild to moderate levels of sleep apnea, we offer a small, custom-designed oral appliance that eliminates the need for C-PAP.

These mouth pieces are FDA approved and comfortably designed so they won’t interfere with your sleep. They are easy to use and effective for many levels of sleep apnea and heavy snoring (often a precursor to sleep apnea).

There is a reason that fitness centers that were full in January are seeing far fewer patrons in April. Losing weight is hard work for most of us. When you add sleep deprivation to the task, the odds are against you from the start. Keep your commitment to lose weight while  restoring your quality of sleep. You’ll see better results and feel better about your overall health and well-being as well.

Call 1-866-9-Smiles to request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Bad Breath? Here’s Why.

It’s a fact of life that we all have not-so-fresh breath at times. However, being associated with bad breath is downright embarrassing. Most of us can recall meeting someone for the first time and being hit with an unpleasant odor emanating from their mouth. Unfortunately, each time we see them afterward, that’s the memory that seems to stand out most.Bad Breath

None of us want the association with bad breath. And, if you suspect you have bad breath, you probably do. With a few simple measures, however, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh breath and feel more confident when being close with others.

First, let’s establish the origin of bad breath. In a word, bad breath is the result of bacteria. Oral bacteria in the mouth are the cause for about every problem that occurs in your ‘oral cavity’ (the inside of the mouth).

Periodontal (gum) disease is the result of an overload of oral bacteria. Keep in mind that bacteria are living, eating and reproducing organisms. They eat away at rotting food in the mouth and attack tender gum tissues. As they accumulate, a sticky film known as plaque forms. If not brushed away daily, plaque hardens on teeth into tartar (or calculus). This cement-hard form of bacteria attacks tooth enamel and gums.

One of the symptoms of gum disease is persistent bad breath. This is a foul odor in the mouth that exists even shortly after brushing. Gum chewing and mints may lessen it some, but it is actually the scent of gum tissues being destroyed in the mouth. Think of it this way: When a camp fire is extinguished, the smell of the burnt wood remains. Even after dousing the ashes with water, you can still smell the burnt scent. Because the tissues in the mouth are being destroyed, the lingering odor prevails even after brushing.

Dry mouth is a contributing factor in bad breath, primarily because oral bacteria thrive when they are not being rinsed away through saliva. Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleanser and sweeps bacteria out on a consistent basis. Without sufficient saliva, bacteria are able to reproduce at a more rapid pace.

Several causes for dry mouth are smoking, some illnesses, snoring and mouth-breathing, and certain medications. The aging process also leaves adults with less saliva flow. Drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages are also drying to the mouth.

When you feel your mouth is dry, the ideal aid to the saliva you have is drinking filtered water. Water is the perfect beverage when it comes to supporting your oral health. It also helps to keep your body more hydrated, which aids in overall function. Chewing sugarless gum also enhances saliva flow and is advised after meals when brushing is not possible.

The tongue is also a tremendous source of oral bacteria. With its tiny grooves, bacteria embed in the tongue and enjoy a warm, moist haven for reproduction. This is why using a tongue scrapper daily or brushing the tongue with your tooth brush can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth quite a bit. Be sure to get to the back of the tongue where the majority of oral bacteria live (even though you may cause some slight gagging while doing so).

If you want fresh breath, the key, obviously, is to control the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Begin with a clean mouth through your six-month dental cleanings and exams. These appointments help to remove buildup that has accumulated between visits, reducing the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

Then, twice daily, brush for at least two minutes, floss daily and use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue. Drink lots of water during the day. Try to avoid sugary treats or drinks since bacteria are super-charged by sugars and carbohydrates. Swish after eating or drinking, especially coffee or a glass of wine to counteract drying effects.

Love your mouth and your reward will be fresh breath and a healthy smile. If you’re behind on your dental hygiene visits, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange an appointment.

 

Taking Pills To Sleep On A Regular Basis?

The other night, I saw a TV commercial for a prescription sleep aid. The woman in the ad woke up with a smile, stretching to show what a restful night of sleep she’d just gotten.  For some people who have occasional (note the word ‘occasional’ here) insomnia, these pills are helpful. At times, stress or travel can impact our ability to get a good night’s sleep and feel rested and alert the next day.

What these pills are NOT designed to do is overcome the rigors your body endures throughout the night as a result of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. A disorder means that something is not functioning as intended.

Sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing that can last up to a minute. These can occur hundreds of times per night. These interruptions in air intake deprive the brain with sufficient oxygen while you sleep. This interferes with your brain’s ability to go through the nightly repair and rebooting cycles they are designed to perform.

The brain is anything but ‘shut down’ while you sleep. Even though a third of our lives are spent sleeping, certain parts of the brain remain active. This period enables your brain to do some housekeeping by removing unhealthy accumulations while regulating certain hormones that keep the body functioning properly.

For example, sleep helps to balance appetite levels by regulating certain hormones that effect feelings of hunger and fullness. Sleep deprivation disrupts hormonal balances that make you  feel the need to eat more. Of course, this can lead to weight gain, which is a common side effect of sleep apnea.

While weight gain is an unhealthy side effect, others are deadly. Sleep apnea has been linked to heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, depression, impotency…  should I go on? You get the picture.

The industry standard for treating sleep apnea in the past has been a bulky, noisy and often uncomfortable C-PAP device. While effective in pushing oxygen into air passages, consistent usage by those prescribed with C-PAP therapy is low. Fortunately, an alternative does exist.

Certain FDA-approved oral appliances can help overcome mild to moderate sleep apnea. These are about the size of a mouth guard, custom-fitted to the contours of your mouth and do not interfere with sleep. They are designed to help adjust the jaw so your throat is more open during sleep. Rather than force air into your throat, oral appliances make air intake, on your own, easy.

You may wish to begin with a no-obligation consultation. There is no cost for this time and you’ll be able to ask questions and have your options explained fully. If you struggle with daytime fatigue, lack of alertness or focus, weight gain, nodding off easily, or feeling unmotivated, it’s time to look into options that can restore your health (and maybe even save your life). Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles.

 

Sleep Apnea? Here Are Helpful Tips!

For those who don’t suffer with Sleep Apnea nor are heavy snorers (often a precursor to Sleep Apnea), it’s hard to imagine how fatigued and groggy one can be every day. Yet, the fatigue is a small part of the whole picture.

Research has linked Sleep Apnea to high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, weight gain, impotency and has even shown a possible correlation to Alzheimer’s Disease. Behind the wheel, Sleep Apnea sufferers are said to be more dangerous than drunk drivers.

In our office, we’ve successfully treated a number of individuals with Sleep Apnea or who are heavy snorers. Rather than have radical surgery, most with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea can overcome these problems with an FDA approved device that’s worn in the mouth at night. These are small and custom-designed to fit the contours of your mouth so they don’t interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

We offer a free, no obligation Consultation appointment so you can have your questions answered thoroughly and determine how you wish to proceed. In the meantime, below are some helpful tips to aid you in achieving the best quality of sleep possible:

  1. Sleep on your side.
    This is the most important piece of advice on this page. It helps keep your airway open & reduces your heartburn and acid reflux.
  2. Elevate the head of your bed about 6-8 inches.
    Easiest way to achieve this is to place several pillows between the box spring and the mattress, positioned under the mattress at the head of the bed. Note that piling up more than 2 pillows to lay your head on does not work as well as it might lead to neck issues & you can easily roll off of them.
  3. Use Breathe RightR nasal strips.
    Be sure to get it in your size as they come in small or large. Also, get the clear ones for sensitive skin. Avoid generic brands and the advanced versions. There is a nice video at Breathe Right’s website showing you how it works and how to use it.
  4. Use nasal spray every night right before bed.
    Be sure to keep your nose clear by blowing your nose first. Inhaling steam can loosen congestion so a hot shower before bed would help. As far as nasal sprays, we get the best feedback about Flonase (available over the counter). Don’t use Afrin.
  5. Keep your bedroom dark.
    Make sure your room is perfectly dark while you’re sleeping. You can use a mask over your eyes. Be sure to dim lights for the hour or two leading up to sleep time. Do not use any electronics with a screen within two hours of bedtime; it messes your melatonin levels. Speaking of bedtime, you should avoid laying down within 30 minutes of food as that increases your risk of heartburn.
  6. Keep your bedroom cool.
    Studies show that the ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees. A programmable thermostat can be set to drop the temperature down to that level late into the night and back up to more comfortable levels in the morning.
  7. Keep the air clean and at the right humidity.
    An air cleaner helps if your furnace system is old. Otherwise, change the air filter on your furnace every month and use one that has a high filtration effect. Use a humidifier in the winter if your house is really dry. The humidity in your room should be between 30 & 50%.
  8. Use your oral sleep appliance EVERY NIGHT.
    It’s important that your airway gets used to that open path from the back of your throat down to your lungs. Regular nightly use makes sure it stays open.

Please feel free to call us at 1-866-9-Smiles with any questions. We are always adding to and improving this list so let us know your thoughts or feedback.