It’s unfortunate that so many people promote falsehoods online these days. It’s bad enough when this is the product of ignorance, but it’s more troubling when people know better, but still publish misleading headlines that can cause people to make poor healthcare decisions.
A particularly disappointing example of the later is a recent column claiming that “Braces Have Made Snoring a Modern Health Problem.” The column makes the claim that braces cause snoring despite the fact that the author’s own sources show it’s not the case.
What Really Causes Snoring
In support of the headline, the article claims that the “the braces he wore as a child may be to blame for” the author’s husband’s snoring. But when the author cites her evidence, all her sources say is that braces are a temporary fix that doesn’t solve a “long-unfolding evolutionary disaster.”
What is this disaster? It’s the confluence of three changes in the way humans live compared to our primate ancestors. First, there’s adaptations for speech, which shortened the jaw for better speech, a larger tongue to better control sounds, and a descended larynx for improved resonance, all of which make our airway more susceptible to collapse or blockage.
Second, there’s the adaptation to an upright posture. The more upright we stand, the more our airway has to take a dramatic turn to reach our mouth and nose. These turns make narrow areas that can be more easily blocked by swollen tissue or by mucus.
Finally, there’s the impact of the modern diet. Ever since people started cutting and cooking their food, about 2 million years ago, our jaws haven’t been developing as large as they did in the past. And modern diets are so soft that most of us don’t have room in our jaw for all our teeth, which is why they’re crooked and crowded, and we need to remove wisdom teeth.
These changes all combine to give us an airway that is very susceptible to narrowing and collapse, which leads to snoring or sleep apnea.
Braces Don’t Cure Snoring
If braces don’t cause snoring, it’s at least true that they don’t cure it, either. Braces are usually designed to straighten the teeth. Although this can expand the upper and lower jaw, improving the size of the airway, this isn’t something that orthodontists usually take into account when doing braces. As a result, the treatment doesn’t cure snoring.
A Variation on Braces That Can Cure Snoring
However, the same basic theories used in orthodontics can be used to actually cure sleep apnea and snoring. It’s a matter of changing the focus and strategy.
Braces use constant pressure and force to move teeth. This pressure causes the body to reshape the bone around the teeth. This is something the body is designed to do. We all of us have the genetic potential to grow bone in response to pressure, which is why a tougher diet leads to a larger jaw (and therefore a larger airway).
Can Your Snoring Be Cured?
We can all develop to the full potential of our genes. For many of us, that can mean having an open airway that allows us to breathe comfortably day and night.
If you would like to learn whether you are a good candidate for an oral treatment of your snoring in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.