If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s important to get evaluated with a sleep test so that you don’t leave your apnea untreated. Once you have determined that you have only simple snoring, you can consider snoring treatments.
Lifestyle Changes and Home Care
There are many things you can do at home to try to reduce or eliminate your snoring. Some lifestyle changes can make a major difference in your tendency to snore.
First, try to avoid alcohol near bedtime. Alcohol relaxes your muscles and can make snoring worse.
Determine whether eating certain foods makes your snoring worse — a snoring journal can help with this — and avoid these in the evening. Mild food allergies will cause your throat to swell, narrowing your airway and contributing to snoring.
If you are inactive and overweight, increase your activity level and lose weight to reduce snoring.
If you are a smoker, try to quit. Smoking inflames your throat, making snoring worse. It also has some of the similar major health effects as snoring, including increasing your stroke risk.
Try changing your sleeping position. Sleeping on your back can make snoring worse. If you have a hard time training yourself to sleep on your side, sew a pocket in the back of your pajamas and put a tennis ball inside.
Oral Appliances for Snoring
Oral appliances are as effective for snoring as they are for sleep apnea. By repositioning your jaw, an oral appliance can hold your airway open. A wide-open airway prevents the turbulent airflow that causes snoring.
Don’t be fooled by over-the-counter look-alike treatments. These boil-and-bite imitators likely won’t work for you because they aren’t designed for your jaw so they won’t properly position your jaw to prevent snoring. Not only that, but they can do harm by putting stress on your temporomandibular joint, which can lead to TMJ.
Many of the same surgeries that are used for sleep apnea are also used for snoring treatment, with many of the same limitations and problems.
Nose surgeries for snoring include correction of a deviated septum (the wall between your nostrils), removal or reshaping of turbinates and soft tissues in the nose.
Mouth surgeries for snoring include uvulapalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and variations that use laser or radiofrequency energy to achieve the reshaping. Palate implants are also sometimes used to treat snoring.
Most doctors don’t recommend surgical snoring treatment because the risks often outweigh the benefits. But for some candidates, it remains a good treatment option.
If you would like to learn which snoring treatment option is best for you, please call (201) 343-4044 or email the River Edge Dental Center for TMJ, Sleep Apnea, & Reconstructive Dentistry.