Dr. Rebecca Taylor of Green City Dental in Edmonds, WA, has warned that sleep apnea issues in young adults are a serious issue and therefore, they need sleep and airway assessments, too. This is all the more important because young adults tend to feel that now that they’re adults, they no longer need as much sleep as they did when they were kids. However, sleep is just as important in young adults, and in some ways, may even be more important. This is because sleep becomes less restorative as people grow older. And sleep loss may also have an impact on oral health. For example, sleep loss is second only to smoking when it comes to having a high risk factor for gum disease.
Dr. Taylor adds, “And then there are also benefits of sleep for your cognitive health. A recent study out of MIT suggests that missing even just a half hour of sleep has serious cognitive consequences for younger adults. Initially, researchers intended to study the connection between physical exercise and academic performance among students in one of their classes. One hundred of them wore Fitbits to monitor their activity. One quarter were enrolled in an intense fitness class at the University. The focus of their research shifted when they noticed a correlation between sleep and grades that was 'not at all subtle.'”
The MIT study indicated a direct correlation between the average amount of sleep that a student got and their grades on 11 quizzes, three midterms, and final exam. It was also observed that sleep consistency was a significant factor as well. It was noted that the students who had the same amount of sleep each night did better than those who had significant variations in their daily amount of sleep, even if they had the same average amount of sleep as the rest.
However, for some young adults, they may still wake up tired and cranky despite getting enough sleep, exercising, and having good eating habits. The Seattle sleep dentist points out that this could mean an undiagnosed airway issue. She has observed that many young people mistakenly believe that obstructive sleep apnea only affects older or overweight people. In reality, sleep apnea affects people of all ages, including children, and a significant percentage of these are undiagnosed.
An example of the stroke risks of undiagnosed sleep apnea in otherwise active and healthy men is a former Coast Guard boatswain mate. His daily exercise routine included a 10-mile run, two hours in the gym, and “marathon” basketball pickup games. But despite all of his physical activity, he had a very high blood pressure, even with medication. He thought that he was giving his heart the proper exercise during the daytime. Unfortunately, it was during nighttime that his cardiovascular system had to work extra hard because of his sleep apnea.
Dr. Taylor points out that whatever a person’s age, sex, or weight, if they think they have symptoms of sleep apnea, it is advisable for them to have themselves checked for the sleeping disorder. Some of the symptoms that they may indicate apnea are snoring and grinding of teeth while asleep; waking up regularly with dry mouth or headache; and feeling anxious, exhausted, or depressed throughout the day. A sleep dentist will be able to find out if airway issues may be affecting a person’s sleep and overall health, and may suggest many options like appliances that are more comfortable than CPAP, including treatments that do not depend on any appliances.
Being a holistic dentist, Dr. Taylor does not simply provide general dental services but also sleep apnea treatment. Sleep apnea may be due to a tissue obstruction, a misaligned jaw, or a collapsing tongue. An oral appliance can be used to gently move the lower jaw and tongue forward, thus, providing more space in the back of the mouth for better passage of air when asleep.
People who are interested in treatments for issues with breathing in young adults and in the other services offered at Green City Dental may want to visit their website, or contact them through the phone or via email.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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