Over the last 30 years of practicing dentistry, I have seen many trends and changes occurring both with my patients and in our society.
One of these changes has been our understanding of sleep patterns and its affect on our overall health. Most of us know, or have heard of, the increases in prevalence of ADHD in kids, cases of depression and anxiety, weight gain and associated diets, autoimmune disorders, cancers and cardiovascular diseases, and fibromyalgia (just to name a few). I have found that there are some common threads. I would not say that they are all related to sleep alone, but interrupted sleep has been linked to all of the above. In particular, OSA (obstructed sleep apnea) or UARS (upper airway resistance syndrome) increase risk by several folds.
I have been taking a number of seminars on this topic, as a number of my patients have oral manifestations due to this resistance in airflow and it affects their daily quality of life. Please talk to me if you notice that your child or another loved one snores, has interrupted breathing patterns, difficulty sleeping, wakes up regularly at night, has gastric reflux, or seems tired during the day. In the dental office, we can see signs and symptoms in the form of grinding and worn teeth, headaches, migraines, white/red lesions on the inside of their mouth, chemical erosion on the teeth, increased incidence of caries (cavities), TMJ symptoms, and periodontal (gum) breakdown.
My hope is that we can have a meaningful discussion and find a way of increasing our loved ones’ quality of life by preventing, rather then waiting, for the end stage disease.
Braeside Dental Centre