“How can I stop snoring?”

Snoring can cause a number of problems as a result of poor sleep, as well as having a very damaging effect on relationships. There are many types of snoring which have different characteristics, if you have been told that you snore and you want to know how to address it try these simple tests to understand what may be causing your snoring;

NOSE. Can you breathe properly through your nose? Looking in a mirror, press the side of one nostril to close it. With your mouth closed, breathe in through your other nostril. If the nostril tends to collapse, try propping it open with the clean end of a matchstick. If breathing is easier with the nostril propped open, nasal dilators may solve your snoring problem. Test both nostrils.

If you cannot breathe at all through your nose, consider the following:

         Allergies can cause your nose to become blocked. If you notice an improvement from anti histamines, or if your mouth breathing is seasonal, then allergies are likely.

         Anatomical (the shape of your breathing passages). A deviated septum, polyps, large turbinates or infected sinuses can all prevent you from being able to breathe through your nose. Your doctor can arrange for tests (such as a CT scan) to determine if you have any of these.

If you can breathe properly through your nose, you may still be a mouth breather. Ask your partner if you sleep/snore with your mouth open, is the snore on the breath in or out? To try to test yourself, open your mouth and make a snoring noise. Now close your mouth and try to make the same noise. If you can only snore with your mouth open then you are probably a ‘mouth breather’. Try “Chin up strips” or a snore guard to keep your mouth closed while you sleep.

TONGUE. Stick your tongue out as far as it will go and grip it between your teeth. Now try to make a snoring noise. If the snoring noise is reduced with your tongue in this forward position then you are probably a ‘tongue based snorer’ and are most suitable for a Mandibular Advancement Splint (M.A.S.). This looks and feels a bit like a gumshield; it works by slightly bringing your lower jaw forward and opening up your airway. The M.A.S. solves or significantly reduces snoring in 85-90% of sufferers. These MAS devices are custom fitted to each individual mouth and can only be made by a dentist specially trained in the causes and prevention of snoring and sleep apnoea.

In rare cases, if none of the above treatments work, it may be necessary to consider CPAP. This stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and consists of a special breathing mask worn during the night which is attached to ventilator machine. This is normally prescribed after analysis of breathing and sleep patterns is conducted in a specialised sleep clinic.

If you would like any more information about snoring or sleep apnoea, or if you would like to arrange a no-obligation consultation with one of our specially trained dentists, please call 01 4542022 to arrange an appointment.

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