Snoring is an old age problem, affecting almost half of the American population. In many cases, snoring is nothing more than a nuisance to your bed partner. However, it can sometimes be a precursor to sleep apnea, a chronic sleep disorder.
If your snoring is not severe, simple lifestyle changes such as losing weight if you are overweight and minimizing your alcohol intake before bed should help combat snoring. If making lifestyle changes does not help, anti-snoring devices or surgery in very severe cases may help.
In this article, I’ll look at the effectiveness of anti-snoring devices as one of the remedies of snoring and sleep apnea.
Anti-Snoring Devices: are they safe?
Yes, anti-snoring devices designed by dentists are safe, effective, and non-invasive and come highly recommended by sleep doctors as a treatment for snoring. Avoid going for the easy and less expensive over-the-counter solutions, tempting as it may be, as these could be hazardous and are often ineffective.
Types of Anti-Snoring Devices
There are various anti-snoring devices that you can use to treat snoring, depending on the cause and intensity of your snoring.
1) Nasal anti-snoring devices
Using nasal anti-snoring devices can help find relief from nasal snoring. They work by keeping the nostrils open during sleep. There are two nasal anti-snoring devices you can choose from, namely, nasal strips or nasal dilators.
Nasal strips are self-adhesive tape strips that reduce snoring by pulling the nostrils apart to help you breathe easier
Nasal dilators are made from plastic or metal and prevent snoring by keeping the nostrils open during sleep.
2) Oral appliances
If you would rather not use CPAP, oral appliances are a great alternative. They are used to treat mild or moderate OSAS without daytime sleepiness.
Chin strips are self-adhesive tape strips fastened under the chin to keep the mouth closed during sleep.
A vestibular shield is a plastic device fitted inside the mouth to prevent mouth breathing and promote nasal breathing to prevent snoring.
Mandibular advancement devices (MAD)
These devices are ideal for treating snoring caused by vibration of the base of the tongue. They work by advancing the lower jaw and tongue forward to increase the space for airflow in the pharynx, consequently preventing the vibration of the tongue, which causes snoring.
You can buy a ready-made thermoplastic MAD and fit it to size in the comfort of your home. Such devices are more affordable but may be unsuitable for you if you have a strong gag reflex. These devices may not work for you if you have trouble sleeping with appliances in the mouth. Most ready-made MADs cause pain in the face and jaw over the initial days of use, which subsides as you get used to them.
Today’s market has a wide variety of lighter, less bulky, and even micro-adjustable MADs you can choose from. Micro-adjustable MADs allow you to adjust the amount of jaw protrusion to hamper snoring without causing too much stress on the jaw and facial muscles. If you can afford it, invest in a custom-made MAD created by a dentist.
Most Mandibular advancement devices require replacement every 18 months and are recommended for treating snoring and mild cases of OSA.
Tongue-retaining devices (TRD)
Snoring is sometimes caused by the tongue falling back and partially blocking the airway during sleep. TRDs are oral appliances designed to keep the tongue from collapsing backward and blocking the nasopharynx during sleep. TRDs use a slight negative suction to hold the tip of the tongue in place.
TRDs have orifices laterally to enable you to breathe through your mouth in case your nose is blocked. TRDs also create mandibular protrusion, which can be adjusted to ensure your comfortability. This can also be increased if snoring persists during use. While you may experience some initial soreness, TRDs are very safe and quite effective in reducing snoring and sleep apnea.
Why you should use an anti-snoring device to counter snoring
a) Safe – using dentist-designed anti-snoring devices is a safe way to reduce snoring. Simpler than CPAP — the CPAP machine used to treat sleep apnea can often be cumbersome and uncomfortable. MADs and TRDs are more manageable.
b) Ease of Use – using anti-snoring snoring mouthpieces is seamless; just put it in your mouth and tighten up the screws. There are no complicated setups, and you don’t need to replace any piece.
c) Affordably priced – oral appliances are more pocket-friendly than the CPAP machine.
d) Strengthen muscles – the lack of muscle definition is a trigger for regular snoring. Anti-snoring mouthpieces can help strengthen your tongue and surrounding mouth muscles, subsequently minimizing snoring.
e) Easily portable – if you are a frequent traveler, choosing a suitable anti-snoring device is vital. Anti-snoring mouthpieces are easy to transport and come with a hard-shell case.
f) Durable – most anti-snoring devices are made from medical-grade plastic approved by the FDA, making them long-lasting.
If you use oral anti-snoring devices, you can sometimes experience excessive drooling, dryness in the mouth, and jaw pain in the initial stages of use. These few side-effects subside within a short time.
Whether you are the snorer or happen to share a bed with one, you can testify to what a nag snoring can be. While some anti-snoring devices can cause discomfort and pain, especially in the early stages, they are safe to use and very effective in treating snoring and sleep apnea.
They also come packed with great features; they are safe, easy to use and clean, and allow you to sleep in whatever position suits you best without worrying about snoring.
Anti-snoring devices alo guarantee more restful nights for both you and your sleep partner. What’s more, they effectively treat any level of sleep apnea, reducing the risk of heart disease and other health problems related to snoring and sleep apnea, such as hypertension.