Don’t Let Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health

Considering Diagnosis and Treatment for Sleep Apnea

How serious is sleep apnea? If left untreated, sleep apnea is potentially very dangerous. The condition brings with it an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and dementia. It can be fatal in some cases.

There’s a 2015 study examining the association of obstructive sleep apnea with clinical outcomes including all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease(CHD), strokes and chronic kidney disease. It found that people with untreated sleep apnea are 86% more likely to die at a younger age than people who don’t have sleep apnea. It definitely increases the risk of dying younger than you would otherwise.

Side Effects of Sleep Apnea

There are many side effects and complications of untreated sleep apnea. Studies show a strong link between obstructive sleep apnea and depression, though the relationship is not fully understood. Another study found that sleep apnea might be associated with erectile dysfunction in men. It has also been associated with liver damage and metabolic syndrome and increases the risks associated with surgery and undergoing anesthesia.

How is the condition diagnosed? See your primary care doctor if you experience these: loud snoring, headache on waking up, dry mouth, insomnia, daytime sleepiness, irritability, gasping for air at night. It might be sleep apnea. If your doctor suspects it, you might be referred to a sleep specialist for a full evaluation.

Evaluation for sleep apnea will require an overnight stay at a sleep center for monitoring. The primary test is a nocturnal polysomnography that monitors everything from your heart and brain activity to your breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels. There are home sleep test options but are not as reliable.

Treatment Option for Sleep Apnea

What treatment options are available? Lifestyle changes will be the first step, and these include weight loss and exercise, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and changing your sleeping position. A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine may be recommended which will keep your airways open while you sleep. This method treats moderate to severe sleep apnea.

If these don’t work, surgical solutions are available. These are tissue removal and tissue shrinkage, jaw repositioning, nerve stimulation, and tracheostomy. Consider your best option. Treating this condition is still worth all the trouble.

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Seeking Treatment in Bellingham

For all its worth, look into your sleep apnea condition and consider the possible consequences. For life and health and for the treatment of sleep apnea, pay us a visit here at Tetrick Family Dentistry in Bellingham, WA.

Watching Out for Harmful Everyday Habits for Teeth

Surprising Things Doing More Harm Than Good

The following may be unhealthy habits that are destroying your oral health.

Consuming foods or drinks high in acidity. Fruits and fruit juices can be harmful to your teeth, containing high amounts of acid that can dissolve enamel. The acid content can alter the pH of your mouth that otherwise protects teeth from the damage of acid. This holds true for other consumables like lemon in hot water, apple cider vinegar, green juices, apples, oranges, etc. One can use a straw to avoid prolonged contact with teeth, or drinking water immediately after, or eating cheese, milk or yogurt which can neutralize the acid.

Not minding the fluoride in your toothpaste. There are just many types of toothpaste out there in the market, but do you ever look at labels to see that there’s fluoride in them? Fluoride makes enamel stronger, enabling it to be more resistant to demineralization caused by acids. It’s been well established that fluoride offers protection to teeth by preventing the decay process. You at least need 1,400ppm (parts per million) fluoride in your toothpaste for the right protection.

Brushing immediately after eating. This can be damaging to teeth when you brush straight away after consuming a highly acidic diet. This is brushing at wrong timing. If you brush straight after eating or drinking something acidic, like orange juice, you’re basically rubbing the acid into the teeth. Wait at least 30 minutes before you brush, or gargle with water, swishing it around your mouth, then wait awhile before you brush.

Clenching your teeth. If you feel anxious or stressed you can subconsciously clench your teeth at night, while sleeping. This can wear the enamel down, exposing the dentine, the soft part underneath the enamel. If it goes unchecked, your teeth actually wears down more quickly, causing sensitivity and giving teeth a yellow appearance.

Falling for DIY Teeth Whitening. Like some people, you might want to whiten your teeth on your own so you go and purchase toothpaste that may contain abrasive agents, such as those for severe whitening or charcoal toothpaste. They may cause damage because it’s the equivalent of scrubbing salt on your teeth. These products can temporarily lift stains, but if the enamel is damaged, that will actually leave teeth more open to staining over time. For safe and monitored whitening, opt for professional tooth whitening.

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Lifestyle Changes in Bellingham

Know more about daily habits that can do more harm than good to your teeth. Visit us at Dr. Tetrick’s and learn about lifestyle modifications good for oral health.

Everyday Foods and Drinks That Stain Teeth

Whiteness Under Peril

Do you notice your teeth are no longer as white as they used to be? You may not have any idea that the food and drinks you enjoy are the ones responsible for the discoloration. There are many common foods and everyday habits that might be secretly staining your teeth. Let us look at some of the worst ones.

Foods and Drinks that May Stain Teeth

Coffee. This favorite beverage contains tannins, responsible for yellowish coloration of teeth. Tannin is the browning substance used in tanning leather and making ink. Coffee is also acidic and can change the pH in your mouth that can weaken enamel.

Black tea. More than coffee, black tea can stain teeth. This beverage can actually cause more tooth staining than a cup of coffee. While coffee may have a darker hue than black tea, the latter has naturally occurring tannins and processes, such as oxidation, that can potentially leave stained or splotchy teeth.

Tomato sauce. Due to its highly pigmented color and high acidity, tomato sauce is highly staining. Acidic foods can weaken the tooth enamel layer, turning it more porous. Occasional indulgence may not be harmful but daily consumption can lead to some tooth discoloration. Taking sips of water between bites can prevent the sauce from lingering too long on your teeth.

Balsamic vinegar. This condiment is intensely flavorful, made from concentrated grape must and is highly acid. It is a source of stains due to its sticky consistency and dark pigments.

Beetroots. They are healthy and delicious additions to a salad or roasted vegetable meal, but they can stain your hands and chopping board. Deeply colored, they can affect the whiteness of teeth.

Curry. This Indian spice has deep pigmentation can yellow teeth over time. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with any curry dish keep the curry from sitting too long on teeth.

Berries. The deep hue in blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blackberries, in particular, can cause staining, regardless of whether they are eaten whole, drunk as juice or processed as jelly and jam. Don’t let the berries sit in your mouth for too long and hard cheese or milk afterwards, to neutralize acids.

Wine. Wines soften enamel which makes it susceptible to staining. Red wine with its dark, rich color and acidity will discolor teeth. But white wine is more acidic and can soften enamel and make it more susceptible to staining.

In like manner, the following are also capable of teeth discoloration: sodas, sports drinks, fruit juices, hard candy and colored, frozen treats.