Should you use a mouth guard for snoring? Does the device have any side effects? Read on to find out.
The human body is an extremely delicate being. Although there are many things (foods, drugs, liquid, and devices) that could go into it and stabilize it, there are also quite a number of the same things that could be extremely dangerous for the body.
That being said, you should take maximum precaution in the type of gadgets you use for managing or eliminating your snoring condition. The manufacturer won’t tell you, but a lot of the devices out there are a potential could cause more harm than good to your health.
Even after being in the market for 20+ years, oral anti-snoring devices (MADs and TSDs) are still classified by the FDA as a Class II Medical Devices. This category I for devices that need to be exclusively tested and investigated to rule out the potential life threatening side effects. These devices also need you to have a prescription to obtain them. However, the regulations behind this have been compromised with and you can now purchase these gadgets online.
The reason FDA insists that you should get a prescription before purchasing these gadgets is because you should seek for a professional opinion before making the decision of buying a Class II medical device. This is because there are situations when the gadget is more dangerous than helpful to a patient. However, sellers found legal loopholes in the FDA regulations and have now give access to these gadgets even without a doctor’s prescription.
Are Oral-Anti Snoring Devices Dangerous?
The danger posed by the use of a medical gadget is dependent on the overlying condition that has compelled the use of that particular gadget. People snore for a number of reasons and the severity of snoring also varies. There are people who naturally snore, and then there are people whose snoring is so extreme that it may have progressed to a medical condition termed sleep apnea.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of Sleep Apnea include shallow breathe or pauses while sleeping. When this happens, it leads to insufficient oxygen going to the bloodstream which encourages the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood. When the brain detects that there is excess of carbon dioxide in the blood, it compels the body to wake up so as to get oxygen. This therefore prevents the person with sleep apnea from suffocating in sleep.
Here are some other symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Impaired alertness
- Slower Reaction Times
- Problem with vision
- Compromised alertness
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS)
The worst thing about sleep apnea is the victim will never realize that they are unable to breath properly in their sleep since they will be unconscious the whole time. Most of the time, they won’t even realize that they have this condition until someone else mentions it or the symptoms to them.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is classified into 2 major groups:
1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
This is a very mild and common type of sleep apnea. In victims with this type, the soft tissues in the walls of the throat lining have usually collapsed leading to an obstruction in the lung airways. When you breathe therefore, the soft tissues will tend to vibrate against each other and against the muscle tissues producing irritating sounds that are interpreted as snoring.
2. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
This is a more serious type of sleep apnea. It results when the brain fails to detect the increase I the carbon dioxide levels in the blood stream and tell the lungs to breath (tell your body to wake up). This can lead to prolonged pauses in your breathing. This condition can be so serious that can cause brain damage in the event that the carbon dioxide in your brain gets to extremely high levels and can even cause death in some cases.
Are You a Snorer Or Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
Quite a number of people always use online sources to diagnose them. The danger with this is that your diagnosis can be wrong and therefore you may purchase a medication online for treating a condition that you don’t have.
Medic conditions are extremely numerous and are complex to understand…and symptoms may be similar with just some very slight difference. The best person to really tell your condition for certain is a professional doctor who has gone through medical school to specifically study these conditions. It is therefore important to consult a doctor before making any purchase decision regarding your snoring condition.
Do Mouthguards Stop Sleep Apnea?
Unfortunately, the design of oral anti-snoring mouthpieces is not medically capable of helping with sleep apnea. Like the name suggests, they are for people who simple snore but don’t have any underlying medical complications. Of course there are people who have successfully found relief in using these mouthpieces but the fact does not change that that’s not what they are primarily designed for.
CPAP machines are the gadgets specially designed to focus on people with sleep apnea Their mode of function is by forcing air into the users nostrils to maintain a continuous flow of air.
Can You Use Mouthguards with Sleep Apnea?
Mouth guards are classified as Class II medical devices. As we said earlier, these are devices that also come with some degree of harm or side effects for the user. Here are some common side effects that come about as a result of using mouth guards.
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder
The Temporomandibular joint is the pat of the lower jaw that’s connected to the teeth. Using a mouthguard could cause pain in this joint due to:
- Shifting of the lower jaw joints and pain
- The forceful pulling of the lower jaw forward
- Joint dislocation
- Cartilage wear and tear
TMJ disorder will not cause pain in the jaw joint but also in the teeth and in the ear. It is an extremely risky condition and as such you should consult a medical professional before trying out any oral device if you have this condition.
- Change of Bite
Oral devices, especially MADs are designed to aim at forcing the lower jaw forward and in so doing tighten the muscles of the throat. When your jaw is forced forward over a long period of time, you could experience a semi-permanent of permanent change in your bite. What this means in a more practical sense is that your lower teeth could be pushed forward to some degree thereby interfering with the interaction between the bottom and the top sets of your teeth. This may result in some degree of discomfort to the user.
Bruxism is a condition where a person unconsciously grinds their teeth in sleep which can cause attrition (damage of teeth) and also TMJ.
Oral anti-snore appliances can work in two ways, either prevents you from grinding your teeth or increase the severity of your teeth grinding. This is why it is also important to speak to your care provider if you grind your teeth.
- Pain in the Teeth and Gums
Most MADs are made of thermoplastic resin material that in some will allow you to fit the device on your own using the boil-and-bite technique. However, in the event that you don’t fit the gadget properly, the plastic can be too firm against your teeth or even cut into the gum tissues and cause discomfort or even bleeding. To decrease the risk of this, you can opt for your fitting to be done by a specialist.
Best Mouth Guard for Snoring
After your doctor’s appointment or sleep monitoring (which can be done using an iPhone App), you may start browsing the net for the most recommended anti-snoring device. Here are some of the best gadgets I the market for controlling snoring that I have personally used and would gladly recommend.
1. Vital Sleep
If you are looking at a Mandibular Advancement device as a possible solution to your problem, then I would recommend one of the best and the most affordable, Vital Sleep. As you already know, this will focus on altering the position of your lower jaw but is very effective in controlling snoring. So if you have no problem with its mode of working then it could be a money saver.
In honesty, there is a huge number of MADs in the market that will be effective managing snoring. The difference in these is the ease of fitting, the materials used, the comfort level that can be attained from them and ultimately the use life length. Nonetheless, not every gadget will work for every single snorer. The best way to go about the gadget that will best suit your needs is to comprehensively read reviews and user feedbacks on the gadgets and if possible, to try them out.
2. Good Morning Snore Solution (GMSS)
This is a Tongue Stabilizing Device (TSD) that has basically a similar focus with MADs except that they are not invasive to the mouth as they are only worn in the tongue.
The TSD operates by holding your tongue in a forward position therefore preventing it from falling back into your tongue and obstructing your airways. Soft tissues that always vibrate at the back of the tongue are also said to cause snoring and therefore the TSD corrects this by minimizing the contact between the tongues soft tissues and throats rear edges.
Which of the two would I recommend fist, you ask?
Well, I personally prefer the GMSS solution over vital sleep simply because:
- GMSS is relatively comfortable to wear since it doesn’t’ get inside your mouth. The discomfort of having something fill your mouth as you sleep is therefore eliminated in this device.
- It is safe for use by people with pre-existing dental structures like missing teeth, bridges, caps, crowns or braces. Unlike MADs, this gadget does not require you to bite down and therefore will not compromise your dental structures. It doesn’t need your teeth to hold it in place either.
- It has no effect on the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). This gadget is less risky than MADs since it doesn’t rest on your teeth. It will therefore neither cause not worsen your TMJ. Furthermore, you don’t have to be anxious about having a perfect fit.
In actual sense there is really no one medical product that is cleared or risks. Do not therefore be intimidated by the health risk and side effects that could come with using anti-snoring gadgets as these are eliminated with proper use. Besides, your focus should be on treating your condition as letting it prolong is even more dangerous, maybe even life threatening to your health.
However, do realize that these gadgets are medical devices and not merely sleeping aids. Consult your doctor to know the underlying cause of your snoring. If you have not been diagnosed with sleep apnea then a snoring mouthguard could be a simple solution. However, if your condition has unfortunately advanced to sleep apnea then you should seek medical advice before trying out any gadget. All the best!