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Do you know what sleep apnea is? Essentially, the most common type of sleep apnea occurs when your airway is obstructed while you sleep. This obstruction can be caused by your tongue or sagging muscles in your throat.  In fact, a person who suffers from sleep apnea may unknowingly wake up more than 100 times a night. If not addressed, sleep apnea can eventually lead to problems like heart disease and diabetes.

However, would you be surprised to learn that some people are more likely to have sleep apnea than others? Sometimes there is nothing you can do to protect yourself from sleep apnea, but at other times you can avoid the problem entirely.

For instance, some people are simply born with small airways. If this is the case, there may not be anything you can do to prevent sleep apnea. Similarly, men are more likely than women are to have sleep apnea—especially men who have a family history of sleep apnea. Fortunately, while you may not be able to stop sleep apnea entirely, a dentist will be able to create a custom appliance designed to support muscles that might otherwise sag.

For example, certain lifestyle choices can promote sleep apnea. Luckily, these choices can be changed to prevent or relieve sleep apnea. One problem is obesity, which makes tissues in your mouth relax more than normal. Smoking is another common problem. The nicotine in cigarettes will cause your airway to swell, meaning your throat more likely to be obstructed. Alcohol can similarly relax the muscles in your airway.

If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea, please contact your dentist. He or she can provide you with specified advice. If you are interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.