There are lots of things you might be doing now that are likely to influence your snoring, such as smoking or carrying a few extra pound in your neck (and your tongue), but did you know that snoring might have been influenced by things that happened to you when you were two years old or less? At least one study suggests that snoring might be significantly impacted by these childhood factors.

Young man snoring heavily

Did You Have a Dog? Or Many Brothers and Sisters?

In this study, more than 16,000 people aged 25-54 were asked a number of questions about health, including whether they were habitual snorers. Habitual snorers were defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three days a week. More than 15,500 respondents answered the questions about snoring, with about 18% saying they were habitual snorers.

This data was then  correlated with information about the respondents’ environment to determine what factors were correlated with snoring. They found a number of factors were positively correlated with an increased risk of snoring as a result. These included:

  • Being hospitalized for respiratory infection before age 2: 27% increased risk
  • Having a dog in the home as an infant: 26% increased risk
  • Suffering from recurring ear infections: 18% increased risk
  • Having a large family: 4% increased risk

Researchers propose that these early childhood factors, all of which were supposedly linked to risk of snoring as adults.

Correlation or Causation?

We have to ask whether this study shows simple correlation or actual causation. The large sample size and the consideration of potential cofounders makes the correlation quite strong, but we still have to consider whether there’s a potential mechanism for linking the two.

It’s possible that development of the airway in early childhood is influenced by respiratory factors, such as exposure to allergens, respiratory illness, or ear infections. So the study makes sense, although we probably will never know for sure whether there’s an actual link.

Snoring Causes Are Complicated–Treatment Isn’t

Although it’s hard for us to nail down exact data about snoring risk, when it comes to snoring treatment, the answer is clear: oral appliance therapy is a highly effective and very convenient snoring treatment.

To learn more about oral appliance therapy for snoring, please call (402) 493-4175 to schedule an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.