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Is There A Link Between Your Tongue, Your Tonsils And Your Sleeping Habits?

Fascinating new research suggests that dentists could have an important role to play in diagnosing a potentially dangerous condition, obstructive sleep apnea, in which blocked upper airways can repeatedly cause breathing to stop and start during sleep.

Studies show that the size of the tonsils and tongue are a major factor in the condition, which can lead to fatigue, irritability and trouble concentrating as a result of disturbed sleep. Over long periods of time, this disorder can lead to problems with learning and memory, mental health conditions such as depression, and even physical complications such as heart failure or heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrhythmia.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The Risk Factors

Participants in this important study were screened for many risk factors, as well as answering the Berlin Questionnaire, which can be used to screen for OSA. Results showed that obstructive sleep apnea is more common amongst those who are obese, have large tonsils or have teeth indentations on the tongue that suggest that the tongue is too big for the mouth. Other potential risk factors include:

  • Neck circumference
  • Blood pressure
  • Size of the uvula

How Can Dentists Help With Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea can be a very serious problem, and this research suggests that dentists could have an important role to play in early diagnosis. Although dentists will not be able to formally diagnose the condition, they can discuss the warning signs with patients and recommend a trip to a sleep specialist or doctor.

Since dentists are routinely checking inside the mouths of their patients, they are perfectly placed to notice these risk factors and to identify potential problems. In future, dental training could include learning about the risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea, and this could transform the way in which the condition is identified and treated.

Studies continue, and research into larger population group and different age groups will be crucial to the understanding of the role that dentists can play in treating this serious medical condition.

Find The Right Cork Dentist For You

Here at Guiney Dental Clinic, we know how important it is to have a dentist you can trust to do the best thing for you and your family. We encourage anyone looking for a dentist to come in and visit us, and meet our experienced and friendly team to find out how we can help to protect your dental health for years to come.

Regular visits to your dentist are an important way to maintain good health for your teeth and gums, and you can get great advice on cleaning and whitening from our dental hygienist, too. We will be delighted to hear from you, so call today on 021-481 0535.


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