It’s incredible to think that something as straightforward as receiving a good night’s sleep can make such a difference to our oral health. However, research proves time and time again that a good session of shut-eye can considerably help people to overcome certain oral conditions.
It is recommended that adults (people aged over 26) receive between 7-9 hours of sleep per night,[i] and though this may vary from person to person, it’s important to stick to this amount in order to reap the full benefits that this rest can bring. Sleep has been proven to provide an anti-inflammatory response in the body, and even one night’s interrupted sleep has been found to have a negative impact on our bodies and immune system.[ii] As many of the oral diseases that commonly plague individuals are associated with inflammatory responses (such as gum disease) it makes sense that research has found a clear correlation between the hours of sleep we get and our risk of developing these conditions, which just goes to prove that more hours dreaming may be a key way to keep our mouths healthy.[iii]
A trip to the dentist can also help people achieve a better night’s sleep, proving that dental health and sleep are linked in more ways than one. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a common condition in which the airways become restricted when lying down, resulting in interrupted or poor sleep. It is thought that around 1.5 million individuals in the UK suffer from this problem, and out of these 40% grind their teeth. Recent research has suggested that tooth grinding may be a way for our unconscious minds to try and unblock our airways, but of course this damages the teeth, causing them to wear down, chip or even become loose.[iv] Tooth grinding may also be the cause of morning headaches – meaning that if you are experiencing these routinely, a trip to your dentist can help! For those suffering from OSA a night guard is often a good choice, as it will prevent teeth from being worn down due to grinding.
Snoring too can sometimes be resolved with a device such as a mandibular repositioning appliance (MRA). This works by holding the lower jaw and tongue forward[v] – considering as many as 40% of all men and 24% of all women snore, it is definitely something to consider if you are routinely kept awake by a significant other or often find that you wake yourself by snoring too loudly.[vi]
In the end, it’s important for everyone to realise that sleep and dental health are intrinsically linked, and that your dentist can help you if you are experiencing problems sleeping. It’s little known knowledge, but by just explaining your sleeping problems to a professional you can quickly find a solution, helping you to achieve that all important shut-eye and reap the benefits that uninterrupted rest can bring.
For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999
[i] HelpGuide.org. Sleep Needs. Link: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-needs-get-the-sleep-you-need.htm [Last accessed November 18].
[ii] Mullinton, J., Simpson, N., Meier-Ewert, H., Haack, M. Sleep Loss and Inflammation. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010; 24(5): 775–784.
[iii] Grover, V., Malhotra, R., Kaur, H. Exploring Association Between Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Periodontitis: A Pilot Study. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2015; 19(3): 304–307.
[iv] The Mail Online. Why Going to the Dentist can Help you Sleep Better: From Snoring to Morning Headaches, it Could be Your Teeth That are to Blame… Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6356097/Why-going-dentist-help-sleep-better-snoring-morning-headaches.html [Last accessed November 18].
[v] British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Link: https://bsdsm.org.uk/obstructive-sleep-apnoea-public/#toggle-id-2 [Last accessed November 18].
[vi] Sleep Education. Snoring – Overview and Facts. Link: http://sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/snoring/overview-and-facts [Last accessed November 18].