Snoring is an extremely common ailment. While it can seem a little silly or even dramatic to label it as such, snoring can actually be quite disruptive to one’s health and quality of life in a multitude of ways. When we look at the research demonstrating the havoc snoring can wreak on people’s well-being, it’s easy to see why so many businesses have taken a shot at selling the ultimate quick fix to the tricky snoring problem.
A “snoring mouthpiece” is among the many options people turn to when seeking a solution to their sleeping issue. But as with anything advertised as a “solution,” questions are raised.
What is snoring?
Seems like a simple enough question, right? It’s that obnoxious, gurgling roar people make while sleeping, usually at the most inopportune of hours. Perhaps your old roommate snored and (suffice to say) you never lived together again. Maybe your spouse snores and you have the slightest urge every so often to kick them in their sleep. Snoring is annoying. We all know that. But what actually causes it and why is it so problematic?
Simply put, snoring is caused by a blockage of air. When sleeping, the muscles in your mouth relax. This includes the roof of your mouth, the throat, and the tongue. In most cases snoring can be explained by the relaxing of the tongue during sleep. What happens is, when you fall asleep your tongue thinks to itself says, hey, I’ll get some rest too! It then droops back into the mouth to get nice and comfy and effectively blocks the airway, creating that rumbling noise we know and despise.
While other factors can contribute to snoring like nasal issues, sleep position and mouth anatomy, they often lead back to the tongue’s blocking of the air passage. They simply amplify the severity or increase the likelihood of the blockage taking place.
Why is snoring bad?
Aside from the fact that the raucous rattling noise booming out into the night from your very own mouth can drive even your nearest and dearest loved ones away, it poses many other risks to your health. Some of the negative effects related to snoring include irritability, sore throat, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating and headaches, as well as pauses in breathing, gasping and choking during sleep. The presence of these symptoms may indicate another sleep disorder referred to as obstructive sleep apnea(OSA).
OSA is characterized by pauses during sleep in which breathing nearly stops or stops entirely. Not only can these terrifying pauses jerk you awake and lead to disrupted sleep, they can affect something called oxygen saturationas well. What this essentially means is that the pauses in breathing are preventing your brain from receiving enough oxygen, which can lead to brain damage. Needless to say, this is no joke. OSA can be potentially catastrophic to one’s health and even life-threatening.
Snoring is often an indicator of OSA. In fact, the two are very much connected. While OSA sometimes requires more extensive treatment, like a CPAP machine, many cases can be treated by eliminating the snoring part of the equation.
What is a snoring mouthpiece?
A snoring mouthpiece is a device designed to fit into your mouth. You insert it before sleep and leave it on throughout the night. With snoring mouthpieces, the intention is to stop snoring.
There are many different types and brands all with their own individual tricks, but the two main categories that snoring mouthpieces fall into are Mandibular advancement devices(MADs) and tongue retaining devices (TRDs). MADs are work by pushing the lower jaw forward in an effort to open up the airway. TRDs, on the other hand, work by preventing the tongue from falling back and blocking the airway in the first place.
Can a snoring mouthpiece help?
Unfortunately, this question can’t adequately be answered by a simple yes or no. Whether or not a snoring mouthpiece can help someone with their snoring largely depends on which snoring mouthpiece they’re using.
When explored, the two major options of MADs and TRDs, both can work. Everyone has their different preferences, but there are few common issues that come up with MADs. In a clinical study, certain Mandibular advancement devices were found to cause overcrowding and significant dental problems. Another common complaint with them is the jaw pain caused by the force of the device. As such, MADs come with a possible risk of needing dental surgery down the road should the shift cause cosmetic issues or persistent pain and discomfort.
With TRDs and more specifically Zyppah’s device, the focus is on preventing the tongue from falling back as opposed to anchoring the teeth and moving the jaw. In effect, the complications specific to MADs are not relevant. However, one concern that can come up is a slight sensation of gagging upon initial use of the TRD mouthpiece. However, this sensation almost always goes away after a short period of time. The gagging is a natural bodily response when something is placed in the mouth. However, once a little time has passed, the body should get the picture that nothing major is going on and cease the signal. The key here is simply giving yourself a little time to get comfortable with the feeling of having a TRD mouthpiece in.
Which should I get?
Everyone has their own preferences, and it’s always recommended to speak with a medical professional before changing your health regiment. However, when comparing the possible risks and functionality of the two, it seems clear that TRDs pose less risk and make the most sense when considering that tongue obstruction is the primary cause of most snoring cases. However, not all TRDs are made the same! What makes Zyppah stand out is it is the only device with the patented tongue strap and was developed by a doctor and bio-medical engineer. Furthermore, in a clinical study it was reported a 91% effectiveness rate among participants. All things considered, Zyppah’s device sounds about as wonderful as a good night’s rest!