Link Between Periodontitis and Sleep Apnea

Link Between Periodontitis and Sleep ApneaWhile both obstructive sleep apnea and periodontitis have been linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity and other potentially serious health problems, a recent study has linked the two conditions together. Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that interferes with normal breathing patterns during sleep. Periodontitis is a condition in which the periodontal tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth become inflamed, which can lead to tissue destruction and tooth loss.

The study, published in the “Journal of Periodontal Research,” evaluated nearly 700 men between the ages of 47 and 77. The men were all examined for symptoms of both conditions. Nearly half of the men in the study had obstructive sleep apnea, and almost 20 percent of them had periodontal disease. Six out of 10 of the men with periodontal disease also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea. Those who had sleep apnea but not periodontal disease were more likely to suffer from periodontal symptoms, including swollen gums and deep periodontal pockets. Those with sleep apnea who were older were 2 ½ times more likely to have periodontal disease. A previous study found that men with sleep apnea were about four times more likely to suffer from periodontal disease.

While researchers have not yet determined the nature and extent of this link, they do offer some suggestions. Breathing through the mouth can dry oral tissues and allow bacteria to proliferate. Other risk factors for sleep apnea and periodontal disease include age, tobacco use, alcohol use and diabetes. Good dental habits, a healthy lifestyle and proper apnea treatment may all help reduce the risk. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your appointment with our expert in sleep apnea in Hawthorne.


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