Why Do People Snore?

Snoring causes more sleeplessness and irritability than most people realize.

snoring_64952062Snoring is one of the loudest noises people can make with their body, sometimes clocking in at 92 decibels—as much as a jackhammer!

If it happens frequently, it can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, poor concentration and attention, memory loss and headaches.

Snoring happens only during sleep, when muscles throughout the body relax, including soft tissue in the oral cavity. When those muscles relax, the airway shrinks slightly and, in some people, partially blocks the airflow causing turbulence. Instead of air flowing smoothly into the lungs, the narrow passage creates bursts of air that bounces off the relaxed tissue in the throat causing vibrations. The vibrations cause snoring.

Though annoying, snoring isn’t usually a health hazard. A nudge in the night is often all it takes to remedy the problem.


If it happens frequently without health issues, you may be a good candidate for a snore guard.

Designed specifically to prevent snoring, the dental device pushes the jaw and tongue forward to open the airway and improve breathing. Custom fitted by a dentist, the device holds soft tissue in place to increase airflow in the oral cavity, eliminating the vibrations in the throat that cause snoring.

In some cases, snoring is a symptom of a more serious condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea and is diagnosed by a sleep physician.

Sleep Apnea can be a life-threatening medical disorder. It occurs when tissue in the back of the throat collapses completely, blocking the airway and causing the body to temporarily stop breathing. When the blood-oxygen level to the heart and brain drops low enough, the body momentarily wakes up, sometimes hundreds of times per night.

In this case, your sleep physician will work with Dr. Chen to create an oral appliance treatment plan, which may include a custom-fitted oral device worn while sleeping to prevent tissue from collapsing and blocking the airway.

Talk with your hygienist or Dr. Chen to help you understand why you snore so that an appropriate treatment plan can be designed just for you.

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