My snoring keeps my spouse up at night. What can I do to help with the noise?
Snoring is when there is interference in airflow caused by the tissues of the palate (the roof of the mouth) and the throat vibrating together, causing a range of noises. You are at a higher risk if you are male, overweight, have a narrow oral cavity, drink alcohol, have nasal problems (which increases mouth breathing) and/or have a family history of snoring or sleep apnea. If you have any of these conditions and snore, it’s a good idea to get tested for obstructive sleep apnea first.
There are several things you can do to decrease or prevent snoring, including losing weight, which reduces neck thickness, and not drinking alcohol prior to sleep, which can relax tissues. Also, oral myofunctional therapy — airway and muscle exercises — can naturally allow the airway to expand. Practicing breathing through your nose open ups the nasal cavity, preventing throat inflammation that comes from mouth breathing.
There are several different dental appliances targeted to prevent snoring. These hold the mouth open and pull the jaw and tongue slightly forward, opening the airway and preventing the vibration that causes snoring.
Your dentist can help you make the most informed treatment decision. Any treatment outside your dentist or physician’s care could lead to problems with the TMJ, so proceed with caution.