Do Snoring Mouthpiece Work?



Last updated: January 28th, 2024

Did you know that approximately 45% of adults snore occasionally, and about 25% are habitual snorers? Yet, snoring and its more severe form, sleep apnea, are often dismissed as mere nuisances. However, these conditions can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. This is where anti-snoring mouthpieces come in, offering a simple, non-invasive solution to help you breathe better at night and reduce snoring. But, do snoring mouthpiece work?

Let’s delve deeper into the world of snoring, sleep apnea, and how these devices can help.

Key Takeaways

  • Anti-snoring mouthpieces operate by repositioning the jaw or tongue to maintain a clear airway during sleep, thus addressing the airway blockage that causes snoring and can combat sleep apnea symptoms.

  • Though anti-snoring mouthpieces may be less effective than CPAP therapy, they are considered a more comfortable and convenient alternative for treating mild to moderate sleep apnea and have better adherence among patients.

  • Mouthpieces require proper care, regular cleaning, and periodical replacement to remain effective and hygienic, and consulting a dentist or sleep specialist is advisable before using them, especially for individuals with existing dental health issues.

Understanding Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Illustration of a person sleeping peacefully in bed

Snoring and sleep apnea are all about airway obstruction. When we sleep, our muscles, including those in the throat, relax. In some people, this relaxation can cause the tongue or throat tissues to block the airway partially or completely, leading to snoring or sleep apnea, respectively. Chronic snoring can lead to daytime sleepiness, mood swings, and even an increased risk of accidents. Hence, finding a solution like an anti-snoring mouthpiece is not just about ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep, but also about promoting overall well-being.

Sleep apnea is a more severe form of snoring, where the breathing stops intermittently during sleep. This condition is often accompanied by loud snoring, gasping, and choking sounds, disrupting the sleep cycle and leading to daytime fatigue. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, making it crucial to treat it promptly with effective solutions like anti-snoring mouthpieces.

Causes of Snoring

The root cause of snoring is the vibration of soft tissues in the throat due to partial airway obstruction. This blockage can occur due to several factors, including age-related muscle tone loss, nasal congestion, and medical conditions associated with obesity.

Snoring can also be exacerbated by your sleep position. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to fall into the back of your throat, which can further block the airway and lead to breathing difficulties. This position can potentially disrupt normal breathing patterns during sleep. Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) are one type of anti-snoring mouth guard that can help address this issue.

Comprehending these factors is fundamental for treating snoring. Understanding the causes of snoring aids in developing efficient treatment strategies. Different types of snoring may require different types of mouth guards. For instance, snoring caused by tongue obstruction might be better treated with a mouth guard designed to keep the tongue in place, such as a tongue retaining device. On the other hand, snoring caused by the lower jaw falling backward might be better treated with a mandibular advancement device, which helps to keep the lower jaw forward, preventing the tongue from blocking the airway.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder that takes snoring to a whole new level. It involves explosive snoring, grunting, and gasping sounds due to temporary airway obstruction caused by tissue at the back of the throat. This results in repeated pauses in breathing (apneas) throughout the night, which can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, and laborious breathing. But here’s the good news: an anti-snoring mouthpiece can help alleviate the symptoms of OSA.

Diagnosing OSA involves a sleep study known as polysomnography, which monitors different physiological parameters during sleep. If you’re diagnosed with OSA, using an anti-snoring mouthpiece can help treat your snoring and improve your sleep quality. Moreover, untreated OSA can lead to a range of health issues, such as:

  • high blood pressure

  • heart disease

  • stroke

  • challenges in blood pressure management

So, using snoring aids like snoring mouth guards and mouthpieces to treat snoring can also help improve your overall health.

How Anti-Snoring Mouthpieces Work

Illustration of an anti-snoring mouthpiece

If you’re curious about how a mere mouthpiece can thwart snoring or manage sleep apnea, let’s explore the underlying mechanics. Anti-snoring mouthpieces work by repositioning the jaw or tongue, applying light tension to keep the airway clear during sleep. There are two main types of these devices: Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) and Tongue Retaining Devices (TRDs). Each type serves a different function in treating sleep apnea and snoring. Both types are designed to address the airway blockage that leads to snoring, but they do so in different ways.

MADs function by moving the lower jaw forward, thus preventing the tongue from blocking the airway. On the other hand, TRDs secure the tongue in position to prevent airway blockage. Both types of devices have their unique advantages and disadvantages. For instance, MADs may allow for adjustable protrusion and lateral jaw movement for a more customized fit, while TRDs are generally easier to fit but may have limited adjustability. Depending on your snoring type and personal preferences, one type may be more suitable for you than the other.

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)

Mandibular Advancement Devices, or MADs, are a type of oral devices that work by fitting into your mouth and advancing your lower jaw. This movement keeps the airway open and prevents the tongue from obstructing it, thereby reducing snoring. MADs are crafted from molded hard plastic with metal hinges and screws. Some models, like the SnoreRx mouthguard, offer advanced adjustability and lateral movement features, ensuring a personalized fit.

A unique feature of MADs is the ‘boil-and-bite’ method, which allows you to customize your device at home. You soften the device in boiled water and then mold it to the shape of your teeth, ensuring a perfect fit. Despite their effectiveness, MADs do come with some drawbacks, such as potential jaw discomfort and drooling. Some models may also require a prescription, limiting accessibility for some people.

Tongue Retaining Devices (TRDs)

Tongue Retaining Devices (TRDs) offer a different approach to manage snoring. They consist of a soft plastic splint that fits around the tongue, preventing it from falling into the back of the throat during sleep. By keeping the tongue forward, TRDs effectively address snoring issues, particularly in back sleepers.

TRDs come with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. While they are lightweight, easy to use, and compatible with dentures or braces, their one-size-fits-all design may not be suitable for all sleepers. Forming a seal around the mouth may also lead to restricting breathing. This can have serious implications for the individual’s health and safety. However, despite these potential drawbacks, numerous research studies have shown that TRDs can improve breathing, decrease awakenings, and enhance overall sleep study results, making them a viable option for many people.

Effectiveness of Anti-Snoring Mouthpieces

Anti-snoring mouthpieces, a type of anti snoring device, have been proven to be effective in treating snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea. In fact, these devices have shown a success rate of 50% in reducing the apnea/hypopnea index to below 10 and decreasing snoring by 45%. They have also been found to improve daytime sleepiness and other symptoms in sleep apnea patients.

When compared to other treatment options such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, anti-snoring mouthpieces may be less effective. However, they provide a more comfortable and convenient alternative to CPAP machines for many patients, leading to better adherence and similar treatment success rates. Therefore, anti-snoring mouthpieces are often recommended as a secondary treatment option when CPAP therapy proves ineffective or is refused by the patient.

Clinical Studies and Research

Clinical studies and research have provided strong evidence supporting the use of mouthpieces in treating snoring and sleep apnea. These studies have shown that devices such as MADs can significantly reduce snoring and effectively address obstructive sleep apnea. MADs, in particular, have been shown to:

  • Decrease both snoring and the frequency of apneic events

  • Improve sleep quality

  • Increase oxygen levels during sleep

  • Reduce daytime sleepiness

These findings make MADs a widely used non-invasive treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea.

Similarly, numerous research studies have provided evidence supporting the use of TRDs for addressing snoring and sleep apnea. They have been shown to improve breathing, decrease awakenings, and enhance overall sleep study results.

Comparing Mouthpieces to CPAP Therapy

When it comes to treating sleep apnea, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is often considered the gold standard. This therapy uses a machine to deliver pressurized air through a mask, keeping the airway open during sleep. However, many people find CPAP machines to be uncomfortable and intrusive, leading to poor adherence.

In contrast, anti-snoring mouthpieces can offer a more comfortable and convenient alternative. Although they may be less effective than CPAP therapy, many patients prefer mouthpieces because of better adherence and convenience factors. In fact, for some patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, mouthpieces can provide similar treatment success rates to CPAP therapy.

Choosing the Right Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece

Illustration of a person fitting a custom-made mouthpiece

Several factors should be taken into account when selecting the appropriate anti-snoring mouthpiece. These include the size of the mouthpiece, its comfort level, and the ability to adjust the protrusion. The right device should fit comfortably in your mouth, and you should be able to adjust it as needed to ensure it works effectively in reducing your snoring.

Keep in mind that not all mouthpieces are identical. Depending on your needs and preferences, you may opt for a custom-made mouthpiece produced by a dentist or an over-the-counter mouthpiece. Each has its unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them will depend on a variety of factors, including cost, convenience, and personal preference.

Custom-Made vs. Over-the-Counter Options

Custom-made mouthpieces are crafted by a dentist after taking an impression of your teeth. This ensures a perfect fit and maximum effectiveness. However, custom-made devices come with a higher price tag, typically ranging between £1200 and £1500, depending on the system used and the dentist’s fees.

On the other hand, over-the-counter mouthpieces, such as the ‘boil-and-bite’ devices, are more affordable, with prices ranging from £50 to £150. These devices can be self-fitted at home by softening the device in hot water and then biting down to create a mold of your teeth. However, these devices may be less effective than custom-made mouthpieces due to the use of lower-quality materials and lack of professional fitting.

Comfort and Adjustability

Comfort and adjustability are crucial factors to consider when choosing an anti-snoring mouthpiece. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • A comfortable device is more likely to be worn consistently, ensuring better results.

  • The design of the mouthpiece, including factors like rim thickness and cup depth, can significantly affect its comfort level.

  • Look for a device that allows for easy adjustments, as this can make it more effective in reducing snoring.

The materials used in the construction of the mouthpiece also play a role in its comfort. Mouthpieces made from premium materials such as dental-grade plastic resin or anti-allergenic thermoplastic are generally more comfortable. Some devices also incorporate Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), which softens in boiling water, further enhancing comfort.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

Even though anti-snoring mouthpieces are generally considered safe and effective, potential side effects and precautions must be acknowledged. Common side effects include tooth sensitivity, excessive salivation, and changes in teeth position. Most of these effects are temporary or easily remedied by adjusting the fit of the device or taking a break from using it.

Before using a mouthpiece, especially if you have poor dental health or unsecured prostheses or implants, it’s recommended to consult with a dentist or sleep specialist. These professionals can assess your unique situation and advise whether a mouthpiece is a suitable treatment option for you.

Common Side Effects

Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of using an anti-snoring mouthpiece. This can manifest as pain or a tickling sensation and is usually due to swelling. Another common side effect is excessive salivation, which can also cause dry mouth. This side effect is typically temporary and can be managed by adjusting the fit of the device or taking a break from using it.

Changes in the position of teeth are another potential side effect of using an anti-snoring mouthpiece. This is a more serious side effect, as it can potentially lead to permanent dental damage. However, it’s important to note that this side effect is usually associated with long-term use of over-the-counter devices that do not provide a custom fit. Therefore, it’s always advisable to consult a dentist before using an anti-snoring mouthpiece, especially if you plan to use it long-term.

When to Consult a Dentist or Sleep Specialist

Before using an anti-snoring mouthpiece, it’s advisable to consult a dentist or sleep specialist. This is particularly important if you have existing dental health issues, unsecured prostheses or implants, or if you suspect you have sleep apnea. A dentist or sleep specialist can assess your condition and advise whether a mouthpiece is a suitable treatment option for you.

Your dental health should be in good condition before using an anti-snoring mouthpiece. This is because the device can potentially cause:

  • Jaw pain

  • Tooth and ear problems

  • Dry mouth

  • Temporomandibular dysfunction

  • Potential permanent dental damage

Therefore, it’s important to have a thorough dental examination and clean your teeth regularly before using a mouthpiece.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Anti-Snoring Mouthpieces

Ensuring the proper care and maintenance of your anti-snoring mouthpiece is vital for oral hygiene and extending the device’s lifespan. Regular cleaning and timely replacement as advised by the manufacturer or dentist are vital to preserving the effectiveness of the mouthpiece and preventing the buildup of bacteria and tooth decay.

Also, being mindful of potential precautions during mouthpiece cleaning is important. Avoid using cleaning products that are too aggressive and can potentially damage the device. Also, make sure to store your mouthpiece in a clean and dry place when not in use to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Cleaning Techniques

Your anti-snoring mouthpiece should be cleaned regularly to maintain proper hygiene and prolong its lifespan. The primary cleaning techniques suggested include gentle brushing and soaking in cleaning solutions. When brushing, be sure to use a soft toothbrush to avoid scratching the device. As for cleaning solutions, it is recommended to use mild dish soap or antibacterial soap. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach or alcohol, which can damage the device.

The recommended cleaning frequency for your mouthpiece is daily. This ensures that any bacteria or debris is removed promptly, preventing buildup that could potentially damage the device or lead to tooth decay. Inadequate cleaning can also result in issues such as drooling, temporomandibular disturbances, and potential damage to the oral cavity, so it’s important to maintain a regular cleaning routine.

Replacement Frequency

In addition to regular cleaning, it’s also important to replace your mouthpiece as recommended by the manufacturer or dentist. This ensures that the device remains in good condition and continues to work effectively. Signs that a mouthpiece may need replacement include:

  • Daily wear and tear

  • The presence of holes

  • Other visible signs of damage

  • Well-defined teeth marks, which may signal a too-tight device and potentially lead to loose teeth

If you notice any of these signs, it is recommended to replace your mouthpiece.

The replacement interval for a mouthpiece typically ranges from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the device and individual usage. The lifespan of your mouthpiece can be affected by regular usage, and individuals who experience teeth clenching or grinding may diminish the device’s longevity. On average, a mouthpiece may last between three to six months with regular use.

Summary

From snoring to sleep apnea, anti-snoring mouthpieces offer a simple, non-invasive solution for a better night’s sleep. By understanding the causes of snoring and the mechanics of these devices, you can choose the right mouthpiece for your needs and ensure its proper care and maintenance. Whether it’s a custom-made device or an over-the-counter option, proper fitting, comfort, and adjustability are key to achieving effective results. So, don’t let snoring disrupt your sleep anymore. With the right anti-snoring mouthpiece, you can breathe easier, sleep better, and wake up refreshed every morning!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do mouthguards help with snoring?

Yes, mouthguards can help to reduce snoring by opening up the airway and preventing soft tissue vibrations in the upper airway. They work by pushing the lower jaw forward to maintain an open airway.

Does anything really work to stop snoring?

Yes, there are effective methods for reducing snoring, such as sleeping on your side, using nasal strips or a mouthpiece, and making lifestyle changes like weight loss and avoiding alcohol. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort.

Top 5 snoring devices?

When looking for snoring devices, it's important to compare all available options to find the best fit for your needs. Answer 2: Chin straps, mouthpieces, nasal dilators, snoring pillows, and tongue stabilizing devices are some of the top snoring devices.

What is the difference between a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) and a Tongue Retaining Device (TRD)?

The main difference between a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) and a Tongue Retaining Device (TRD) is that MADs advance the lower jaw to prevent airway obstruction, while TRDs hold the tongue in place to prevent it from blocking the airway.

How often should an anti-snoring mouthpiece be replaced?

You should replace your anti-snoring mouthpiece every 6 months to 2 years, depending on the specific device and how often you use it.


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