Sleep is critical for overall health, boosting your immune system, combating chronic diseases, improving mental health, and much more. But did you know that one of the ways that you can sleep better is through orthodontic treatment? By addressing bite problems and teeth or jaw alignment, orthodontists can correct, prevent, or treat some common sleep issues.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which a person’s airway becomes blocked intermittently in their sleep due to relaxed throat muscles preventing airflow. To get enough oxygen, the body wakes itself up in the middle of the night to resume breathing properly. This condition causes people to miss out on a night of uninterrupted rest, and it can become potentially dangerous.
Orthodontic treatment can prevent OSA in young people by guiding jawbones to grow wide and creating a healthy bite. This allows the airway to remain open, even when muscles are relaxed during sleep. For adults with OSA, orthodontic treatment can correct bites and help manage this issue as well.
Grinding your teeth
Sleep bruxism is a condition in which a person excessively grinds or clenches their teeth while asleep. Grinding wears down enamel and weakens teeth, and it can cause jaw soreness and headaches. Over time, the excessive pressure may lead to fractured or chipped teeth, tooth attrition, and bite misalignment. A misaligned bite exacerbates the damage that grinding does to teeth and may make it more likely that you start grinding in the first place. Fortunately, braces and aligners can correct your smile and often prevent or improve bruxism.
Snoring and mouth breathing
Like OSA, snoring and mouth breathing can be indicative of a constricted airway. Mouth breathing dries out the mouth and prevents saliva from cleaning bacteria away. This is associated with oral health problems, increasing your risk for inflamed gums, cavities, and bad breath. Snoring may be a symptom of sleep apnea, or it may be caused by other factors. Overbites are a common culprit for snoring. Our orthodontists may use braces and clear aligners to straighten teeth and align the bite, which opens the airway and nasal passage, making regular breathing easier during sleep.
Get a straighter smile—and better sleep!
The benefits of a straight, healthy smile extend to sleep, too! If you are ready to get the smile (and sleep!) you deserve, contact the team at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics today to schedule a free consultation. Wishing you a good night’s rest and sweet dreams!