Snoring – The Causes & Effects on Oral & Overall Health

Snoring is not normal, and often indicates a problem in the airway. While some people snore lightly, others might do it occasionally. Usually, this is unconcerning especially if it does not happen all the time. But for others, it can be a sign of a more serious underlying sleep-related breathing disorder (sleep apnea).


While it may seem like a minor annoyance, it can actually have serious health consequences if left untreated. Health issues can range from high blood pressure to heart disease, and stroke. It can also cause a variety of dental issues like dry mouth, bad breath, and tooth decay. It can also be distressing to the person sharing the room with the snorer. This can cause stress as well as sleepless nights for both people involved. Here we cover the basics, including what causes it, the effects on oral and overall health, and treatments to stop snoring.

What is Snoring?

Snoring is breathing with a loud, raspy sound while asleep. While there are many underlying causes, it occurs when the airway narrows in the throat. As air passes through this narrowed airway, it causes the soft tissues to vibrate, producing the sound we hear.

Quick Facts:

  • Snoring is common
  • People may not be aware they do it
  • It may keep others awake
  • Snoring can cause poor sleep
  • And sleepiness during the day
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime

Laser treatment is usually the best way to treat snoring…

The Link Between Snoring & Overall Health

Snoring has a number of consequences that can impact your life. In fact, studies have shown a link between it and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. For this reason, it’s important to seek treatment.

What Causes Snoring?

During sleep, the muscles in the throat loosen (which narrows the airway). As the person breathes in and out, it causes the soft tissues to vibrate and make noise. Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea but not everyone who does it has sleeping disorder. Sleep apnea is when your breathing stops or slows down for a short time and then starts again.

Factors that can contribute to it, include age, weight, alcohol consumption, sleep position, and allergies.

For example, as you age, the muscles in your throat and tongue become weaker. This makes them more likely to vibrate during sleep. You are also more likely to snore if you are over weight.

Other Causes:

  • Large tonsils, soft palate, or tongue
  • Deviated septum
  • Jaw that is too small or set back
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sedative medications

Sleep Disorders: Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is one of the most common causes of snoring. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, causing the airway to narrow or close during sleep. As a result, the person’s breathing becomes shallow or stops altogether, causing them to snore loudly. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.


  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Very loud snoring
  • High blood pressure
  • Morning headaches
  • Gasping or choking after waking up abruptly
  • Difficulty concentrating

Effects of Snoring on Oral Health

Certain dental problems, such as misaligned teeth or jaw positioning, can contribute to snoring and sleep apnea. Additionally, snoring and sleep apnea can lead to dental problems, such as dry mouth and tooth grinding. While mild or occasional snoring usually is not a cause for concern, chronic snoring increases your risk of health issues.

Dry Mouth

Snoring can cause dry mouth. This happens when you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. Mouth breathing can be the result of a blocked nasal passage and can is often associated with sleep-disorder breathing.

Dry mouth can lead to a decrease in saliva production, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva helps neutralize the acid produced by bacteria in the mouth, which causes decay. This can lead to an increase in cavities and gum disease.

Teeth Grinding

Snoring can cause teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. The force of it can cause teeth to grind against each other, leading to chipped or broken teeth. Bruxism can also cause headaches, jaw pain, and facial pain. This can cause long-term damage to teeth and jawbones, causing them to wear down and become misaligned.

Gum Disease

Snoring can cause gum disease due to the bacteria that grows in the mouth. This happens when the vibrations from snoring cause bacteria to grow faster (increasing the risk of gum disease). Gum disease can cause inflammation, bleeding, and even tooth loss.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: TMJ

Snoring can cause Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). TMJ is a condition that affects the joints that connect the jaw to the skull. The force of it can cause pressure on the joint, leading to pain and discomfort.

TMJ can also cause headaches, neck pain, and earaches. This can cause long-term damage to the jawbone, causing pain and difficulty with eating and speaking. If you think you have TMJ, there are treatment options available.

The good news is, there are several treatment options.

Treatments for Snoring

There are several things you can do on your own, and there are also a variety of treatments available. The list below is general. While it can help some people reduce primary snoring, others might need to seek other treatment options (see below).

General Measures to Reduce Snoring:

  • Lose weight
  • Sleep on your side
  • Elevate your head during sleep
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • Use a decongestant for nasal congestion

Oral Appliances

An oral appliance is a custom made device that fits over the teeth. It works by moving the lower jaw forward, which helps to open up the airway and prevent snoring. However, because oral appliances pushes your jaw forward, some people find this method uncomfortable. The good news is, there is a non-invasive way to reduce or eliminate snoring.

While most treatments attempt to keep the breathing passage open (by pushing the jaw forward), a laser can reshape the throat. Because of this, it can effectively reduce or eliminate snoring. Lasers heat the tissues of the airway causing a tightening effect which helps to keep the airway open. This means, you won’t have to wear an uncomfortable device while you are sleeping.

The Importance of Seeking Treatment

You can expect tiredness, morning headaches, dry mouth, and even relationship difficulties if you snore. But it’s more than just an annoying noise. It can actually be an indication that your airway is not open properly while you are sleeping. In addition, it can be a symptom of a more serious condition called sleep apnea. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead more serious consequences such as stroke, or even a heart attack. Thankfully, those who suffer from it can turn to us for treatment.