Snoring doesn't just disturb other people in your home. It can sometimes prevent you from getting a restful night's sleep or could be a sign of a more serious health problem.
If you or someone in your family snores, you should make an appointment to see a doctor or dentist. They can examine your throat and may recommend a sleep study to diagnose the problem and recommend suitable treatments.
Why do I snore?
Snoring happens when tissues in the throat vibrate. It's more common in people who are overweight or have large tonsils or other oversized tissues in the back of their mouth or throat.
You are more likely to snore if:
- you sleep on your back
- your airways are blocked due to a cold, allergies or sinus problems
- you smoke
- you drink alcohol before sleeping
- you're pregnant
- you're taking certain medications
When is snoring a problem?
Some people snore with no adverse effects, but if loud snoring wakes you up during the night, or you feel tired or have trouble concentrating during the day, you could have a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
Sleep apnoea can affect your health and wellbeing in a number of ways. If you feel tired during the day, you may be more likely to make mistakes or get involved in workplace or motor vehicle accidents. OSA is also a risk factor for a number of serious health conditions including diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure and stroke.
How can I stop snoring?
If you think you might have sleep apnoea or another sleeping disorder, you should talk to a health professional. An ear, nose and throat doctor or your dentist can examine your throat and look for signs that sleep apnoea may be present. They will also ask about your symptoms and may arrange an overnight study with a sleep clinic so your experiences can be observed by a sleep specialist.
Depending on your condition and symptoms, sleep apnoea treatments may include:
Addressing the risk factors for sleep apnoea could reduce its effects. Your dentist may advise that you try to lose weight, avoid smoking, drink less alcohol and don't use sleeping tablets that can make OSA worse.
Sleeping on your side rather than on your back can also make you less likely to snore. If you find it hard to sleep on your side, you can buy devices such as pillows or wedges that will prevent you from rolling onto your back.
If you have mild sleep apnoea, your dentist may provide a night guard similar in appearance to a mouthguard that should be worn at night. This pushes the lower jaw forwards slightly to hold open the airway and make sure breathing isn't interrupted.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
For more severe sleep apnoea, your dentist may refer you to a sleep specialist who can provide CPAP therapy. This involves wearing a face mask at night that feeds a continuous supply of air to hold your throat open, allowing you to breathe normally.
In the most severe cases, surgery may be required to enlarge the airways, although this is rare.
Talk to a dentist in Sydney CBD
For more information about snoring and sleep apnoea treatments, make an appointment with our dentists at Sydney CBD Dental. We'll try to identify what's causing your sleeping disorder and will make sure you have all the information about treatment options to make an informed decision.
 Healthdirect. How to stop snoring [Online] 2018 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-to-stop-snoring
 Healthdirect. Sleep apnoea [Online] 2017 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/sleep-apnoea