Dentist reveals how your oral health affects your sleep – and why you should ALWAYS breathe through your nose for a better night’s rest
- Sydney-based dentist Dr Ron Ehrlich reveals how your oral health affects sleep
- He explains how problems like overcrowded teeth can cause breathing issues
- Dr Ehrlich also says it’s important to practice sleeping with your mouth closed
If you’re having problems sleeping through the night, the state of your oral health and whether you breathe through your nose could be to blame.
Speaking to The Good Night Co, Sydney-based holistic dentist Dr Ehrlich said problems like overcrowding, fillings or infection – as well as breathing habits – could all affect the quality of your slumber.
‘When it comes to quality [of sleep], your oral health is a huge contributing factor as the way you breathe impacts how well you sleep,’ said Dr Ehrlich.
Dr Ron Ehrlich (pictured) said problems like overcrowding, fillings, infection and breathing habits can all impact on whether or not you get a good night’s slumber
Dr Ehrlich explained many people he sees have some sort of problem with an overcrowded mouth.
‘I’d say over 95 per cent of my patients have impacted wisdom teeth to some degree, or a narrow crowded jaw, resulting in a narrow upper airway,’ he said.
He said in the case of a narrow jaw, there’s not enough room for the tongue – a situation that could lead to breathing problems and a disrupted night’s sleep.
The dental professional also said if patients are struggling to sleep, he will take a range of other oral health-related factors into consideration.
These can include whether a person has had a certain type of filling which has become poisonous to the body or if there’s chronic infection present.
‘A patient may come in with a chronic infection which isn’t painful and not worry about this – however, we need to consider how this infection could be affecting the rest of the body, even it if isn’t painful.’
Dr Ehrlich (pictured right with his son Dr Lewis Ehrlich, who is pictured left) takes a holistic approach to dentistry and considers a range of factors that can be impacting a person’s health
While regular brushing and flossing before bed are a given, Dr Ehrlich advised people to also think about the importance of how they breathed during the night.
He said ‘best practice’ was to breathe through the nose, rather than through your mouth when sleeping.
As well as helping you get a better night’s sleep, Dr Ehrlich said nose breathing can help with other breathing-related health problems.
These included allergies, hay fever, enlarged tonsils and other chronic respiratory issues.
While regular brushing and flossing before bed are a given, Dr Ehrlich advised people to also think about the importance of how they breathed during the night (stock image)
What dental problems can be caused by mouth breathing?
* Breathing through the mouth (especially at night) dries it out – removing protective effect of saliva.
* Saliva has natural ability to kill the bacteria in the mouth that produce acid.
* Under normal conditions, the pH level in the mouth – the measure of acidity or alkalinity – is a neutral level of 7.7.
* This is high enough to erode tooth enamel and akin to having a glass of orange juice or can of fizzy drink before bed .
He said breathing through the nose helps ‘warm, filtrate and humidify’ the air before you take it into your lungs, in other words, this acts as a purifying system.
Additionally, he said nasal breathing affected mental and physical health as it helped to even out acid/alkali body chemistry.
Breathing through the nose at night also comes with a range of benefits that directly impacted dental health.
Dr Ehrlich suggested those who struggle with mouth breathing try placing a small piece of non-porous tape across their lips at night before going to bed
These included less erosion of tooth enamel, caused by a dry mouth, as well as helping to minimise tooth decay.
Dr Ehrlich suggested those who struggle with mouth breathing try placing a small piece of non-porous tape across their lips at night before going to bed.
He said parents can retrain their children to breathe through their noses with the help of a dentist who can show the correct position between a child’s tongue, lips and cheeks or through myofunctional therapy.
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