Dentist explains how snoring can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems

By Staff 9 Min Read

Snoring can be a sign of underlying health problems – and it can also lead to a number of oral health issues including dry mouth, bad breath and gum disease, a dentist has warned

A dentist has issued a stark warning that snoring could be an indicator of serious health issues and may even lead to oral health problems – including bad breath.

It’s common for people to snore at some point in their lives, often due to a cold or illness that blocks the nose or affects breathing. However, for an estimated 15 million adults in the UK, late-night grunts and wheezes are a regular occurrence, with one in ten also suffering from sleep apnoea. Men are twice as likely to snore than women and typically produce louder sounds.

Age plays a significant role in snoring, with most sufferers being in their fifties. However, lifestyle choices such as drinking and smoking can also contribute to it. Weight is another contributing factor, and GPs often advise patients to address this if they seek help for snoring.

Dentists can also provide advice on snoring, as issues with teeth and gums can affect breathing during sleep, reports Wales Online. Dr Deepak Aulak, a regular on This Morning and founder of the AI-powered dental app Toothfairy, said: “Snoring is more than just a frustration for you and anyone in earshot to bear.”

He added: “It is often indicative of underlying health issues that can significantly impact your quality of life and can also lead to oral health problems. Snorers often sleep with their mouths open, which dries out the mouth and reduces the amount of saliva. We need salvia to ensure our teeth and gums stay healthy. The result is more bacteria, meaning potentially gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss. If you have any worries about snoring, be sure to speak to a dentist as well as a doctor.”

Dry mouth

Snoring often leads to mouth breathing, which reduces saliva production leading to dry mouth. The lack of saliva increases the risk of oral infections, and chronic dry mouth can cause tooth decay and gum disease, because saliva is vital to maintaining good oral health.

Dr Deepak said: “Regular dental check-ups are crucial, not just for maintaining overall oral health but also for specifically addressing dry mouth concerns. By monitoring your oral health regularly, we can spot any early signs of dry mouth and implement the appropriate interventions to alleviate discomfort and prevent potential complications.”

Bad breath

Snoring can lead to bad breath, caused when continued dry mouth leads to tooth decay or gum disease. Dry mouth from snoring increases the bacterial build-up meaning there less saliva to prevent tooth decay. Dr Deepak said: “If someone has complained that you snore, they may be bold enough to tell you a few more painful truths. Do you have bad breath?”

“Snoring dries out your mouth and robs it of that natural defensive layer of salvia, which is key to combating tooth decay and keeping your teeth and gums clean. If you’re uncomfortable asking someone if you have bad breath, ask your dentist you’ll get an honest answer from the very person who can help treat it”.

Gum disease and gingivitis

Another symptom of a lack of salvia from dry mouth is gingivitis and more serious gum disease, like periodontitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, which is causes when plaque, tartar and bacteria builds up on the teeth, leading to red, swollen and bleeding gums.

When the condition is left untreated it can develop into periodontal disease, which is attacks the soft tissue around the teeth, causing tooth loss. Interrupted sleep caused by snoring or sleep apnoea can increase inflammatory markers in the blood, which can exacerbate gum disease.

Dr Deepak said: “If you see blood in the sink after you’ve brushed your teeth or noticed a foul smell after you’ve flossed it could be the first signs of gum disease. In its early stages, it can be easily treated with special toothpastes and mouthwashes, but if the disease is allowed to become more deep-rooted, you’ll know about it, it is very painful.”

“Regular dental check-ups are essential not only for early detection and treatment of gum disease but also for overall preventive care. In addition to professional dental visits, maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home is crucial. This includes brushing teeth twice daily, flossing regularly, and using antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce plaque buildup and minimise the risk of gum disease.”

“By combining regular dental check-ups with consistent at-home oral care, we can effectively prevent gum disease from progressing and mitigate the risk of more severe complications. Snoring may not seem a problem for you now but tackling it could save you real problems down the line”.

Tooth loss

Serious gum disease, or periodontitis, weakens the soft tissue that supports the teeth, and can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Tooth loss changes the shape of the mouth, potentially narrowing the airway and affecting how the tongue rests when a person is asleep. This in turn causes snoring.

Dr Deepak said: “Tooth loss from gum disease is the eventual result of long-term, poor oral hygiene. And snoring could be adding to it. Contact your dentist if you’re worried about your snoring, or that of a loved one”.

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