By Dr. Heff

Professional Advice on Snoring from a Dentist

In this month's Dr. Heff's blog, we thought you might like some professional advice on snoring and information on invasive and non-invasive ways to cope. 

Snoring disrupts the your sleep, your partners sleep, and can be an indicator that your lifestyle needs to change.

But, you are not alone! Studies estimate that 30% of women, 45% of men and 10% of children snore regularly.

So, how often have you laid there next to your partner, or woken yourself up snoring, and wondered why this is happening? The answer is air is being forced past a partially closed airway. This happens to a greater extent when people sleep on their backs as gravity causes the tongue and soft tissues to fall back and obstruct the airway. With greater tissue mass from obesity, nasal congestion or naturally tighter passages, there is more likely greater closure of the airways.  

Causes of snoring include:

  •     Sleeping on your back
  •     Alcohol or respiratory depressants
  •     Nasal congestion, colds, allergies
  •     Being overweight
  •     Family history of snoring

Often, we breathe through our mouth when snoring. This will cause drying of our mouth tissues and teeth and reduce the protective effects of saliva. If alcohol has been consumed before bedtime, there is a greater risk of reflux (GORD or GERD) which can further irritate the throat and put acid over the teeth, causing tooth wear. Again this can be exacerbated by bruxism, where the teeth are ground over each other when softened by acid. 

The treatment options for snoring range from simple non-invasive approaches (best starting point) to more extreme invasive surgery. The non-invasive approaches include nasal dilator strips to help open the airways and approaches to elevate the head so that the tongue and soft tissues have less of a tendency to fall back. 

Appliances can be worn inside the mouth, which aim to move the lower jaw forward to help stop the tongue from dropping back. These can be effective and can be custom-made by a dentist or bought over the counter. 

 Lifestyle changes are an excellent approach as they often can improve general health as well as reducing the fatigue from a bad nights sleep. Avoiding smoking and reduce the causes of allergies that can irritate and inflame the airways. Avoid alcohol, muscle relaxants, and sedatives as this reduces the muscle tone increases the potential for snoring. Also, losing weight will help prevent bulk around the neck. 

Surgical procedures advocated for reduction of snoring include approaches to lift the soft palate at the back of the mouth or remove obstructions such as nasal septum deviation, enlarged tonsils and adenoids. These approaches are more invasive, carry their own risks, and are more costly, so non-invasive and lifestyle changes are the best initial way forward. 

Read our blog, The Importance of Sleep, for more helpful information about snoring.

Dr Heffs Remarkable Mints contain natural ingredients and are caffeine-free and sugar-free. One of the main ingredients is decaffeinated green tea extract that helps to protect the collagen that make up your teeth and is also antibacterial. Dr Heff’s Remarkable Mints will give you the polyphenol benefits of green tea without harming your sleep. You can even use a mint in the night to help ease dry mouth or sooth a cough. 

They are ideal for people that suffer from dry mouth as they help to stimulate saliva and the mint leaves the mouth feeling fresh and clean. They are scientifically tested by international dental schools, recommended by dentists and endorsed by Toothfriendly International. 

I hope this was helpful and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. And remember, 15% off subscriptions when you order from!

Best of luck on your snore-free journey,

Dr. Michael Heffernan