Joseph Ramellini, DMD

Gabrielle Ramellini, DMD, Diplomate, ABDSM

Joseph Ramellini, DMD

Gabrielle Ramellini, DMD, Diplomate, ABDSM

What Happens to the Mouth While You’re Sleeping?

Cartoon of a sleeping man grinding his teeth.
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Sleep may be your time to rest and recharge but there’s still plenty going on in your body while you’re zoned out. Here are some examples. Has anyone told you that you snore? Have you been surprised by your own bad breath that seemed to develop overnight? Have you awakened with head or jaw pain? Has a partner noticed tooth grinding noises coming from your side of the bed? These are a few clues as to what’s happening to your mouth while you’re sleeping.

The Results of Decreased Saliva

Saliva production in the mouth slows down overnight, minimizing your need to swallow and reducing the risk of choking as you sleep. This can result in a worse smell from the active bacteria that has built up in the mouth and would otherwise be washed away or neutralized by the saliva. It can also mean you wake up with a dry mouth.

Nighttime Grinding

Some people have a condition called bruxism, which means they grind their teeth while they sleep. Often it’s not enough to wake someone up, but the individual may feel jaw pain or a headache in the morning. During your regular dental visits, our Peak Dentistry team will look for signs that your teeth look more worn down. To prevent further damage, those dealing with bruxism can wear a custom-made night guard to bed.

Sleep Apnea

Another serious, mouth-related sleep condition is sleep apnea. With obstructive sleep apnea, a person’s airway becomes blocked. This can be due to enlarged tonsils, or too much collapse or relaxation in the throat’s tissues. The result is often irregular or interrupted breathing during sleep. Once sleep apnea is diagnosed, treatment will depend on the severity of the problem. Peak Dentistry makes custom oral appliances to provide relief for many of our patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Answers to Your Dental Questions in Clyde, NC

Do you have more questions for us? Besides custom night guards and sleep apnea treatment, the Peak Dentistry team is here for all of your dental-related matters. We invite you to contact us with your questions or concerns, or come by our Clyde dental practice for an in-person consultation.

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