Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airways become obstructed during sleep. Patients frequently suffer from symptoms such as:
- Breathing interruptions
- Dry mouth
- Daytime sleepiness
- Sore throat
Dry mouth is often associated with sleep apnea and can cause bad breath, especially in the morning. During sleep, saliva flow is reduced and adding a dry mouth to the equation gives a favourable environment for bacterial growth. The bacteria metabolism sends off nauseating products resulting in bad breath.
Nowadays, dentists may play an important role in detecting this problem since they are more in contact with patients than doctors. Dentists are the professionals who can refer you to good specialists when required. When a patient talks about bad breath with his dentist, questions will be asked in order to target the problem. A knowledgeable dentist could therefore detect the symptoms of sleep apnea in patients and refer them to a specialist to confirm or not the sleep apnea diagnosis by polysomnography.