Snoring occurs when the lower jaw and tongue fall back when you are sleeping, reducing the size of your airway. This narrowed airway means that the lungs need to draw in air at a higher speed to ensure that you still receive sufficient oxygen. The increased airflow causes soft tissues in the throat and behind the tongue to vibrate causing the noise we all associate with snoring.
It is thought that around 1 in 3 adults snore to some degree. Snoring is known as a chronic condition and in the long term it can lead to serious health problems. It can be a major factor in sleep disturbance, leading to a lack of energy, poor concentration, mood swings and irritability. Snoring can also put a serious strain on relationships, with couples often going to bed at different times or even sleeping in separate rooms.
1. For most people the most effective means of reducing snoring are weight loss, control of alcohol, sleeping on your side (not on your back) and increasing exercise.
2. For a lifetime cure surgery, can be considered. This involves a 15-minute operation at the back of the throat using a laser. However, the results of this surgery are very mixed and cannot be guaranteed.
3. Nasal strips and nasal dilators are another popular treatment. The nasal devices aim to increase the dilation of the nasal passage and improve the airflow. Some snoring can be attributed to nasal blockages. However the majority of snoring problems are caused by blockages in the throat, so these types of treatments will have little or no effect on reducing snoring.
4. Sleep pillows are also available to help treat snoring. They each aim to maintain an open airway during sleep by using positional therapy. Positional therapy could potentially offer some relief in mild cases of snoring. However, during the course of the night, the sufferer can move at any time.
5. The most well researched technique to stop snoring is the use of a mandibular advancement appliance (MAA). An MAA looks like a mouth guard and fits over both the upper and lower teeth. He two parts are connected to hold the lower jaw slightly forward. This prevents the tongue from falling backwards, helping to keep the airway open. Here at College Dental Surgeries we use the Somnowell MAA.