21 Oct Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Periodontal Disease
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that deprives a person of sleep because of airway obstruction. Apnea literally means that a person stops breathing. During episodes of sleep apnea, a person can stop breathing for up to 60 seconds. An episode of apnea will end when the brain sends signals to wake the body slightly so that regular breathing resumes. The cycle of sleep apnea followed by wakefulness impairs a person’s ability to progress through each phase of sleep, including REM cycles. Not only does sleep apnea cause sleep deprivation, it can affect general well-being and oral health. Sometimes, patients with OSA will develop common oral conditions like periodontal disease.
Sleep Deprivation and Your Immune System
Periodontal disease involves a chronic infection of gingival tissue due to tartar accumulation and inflamed gums. Advanced periodontal disease is the most common cause of adult tooth loss and it can have implications for one’s total wellness. Since periodontal disease involves a severe infection, immune system impairment can make fighting and healing from this condition more difficult. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation weakens the immune system and slows down tissue rejuvenation. Since sleep deprivation contributes to immune system suppression, it can negatively affect gingival health.
Dry Mouth and Gum Health
A common side effect of sleep apnea is waking with dry mouth. Soft oral tissues should stay moist. When the gums are dry, they are prone to becoming irritated and inflamed. If the gums are irritated and inflamed, bacteria can easily infect them. Without treatment and thorough oral hygiene, periodontal disease can wreck the entire oral health system.
The Dangers of Untreated OSA and Periodontal Disease
Both untreated sleep apnea and periodontal disease can have far-reaching effects on your well-being. Untreated sleep apnea can affect the vitality of all the body’s systems. Some research has indicated that periodontal disease can weaken the cardiovascular system if the infection enters the bloodstream. Since sleep apnea and periodontal disease are connected, it is very important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
If your dentist or doctor has referred you to our oral surgeon, call us today to reserve a consultation and get back to a healthier mouth!