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  • Elise Miller

Oral Health & Sleep: What is your mouth telling you?

Oral Health & Sleep: What is your mouth telling you?

Do you already know that you have acid reflux, sleep apnea, teeth grinding and/or clenching? Maybe you have already been diagnosed by a doctor for these issues? In this post we will focus on what you can do to help reduce further damage or help with the symptoms of each while you are sleeping.

Oral health is something we can all agree is important but sometimes neglected. Having a healthy mouth is very much connected with your overall well-being.

Acid Reflux

People with acid reflux, also known as heartburn or in chronic cases gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often have difficulty or pain with swallowing, regurgitation of acid, and or burning in the throat and mouth. The discomfort from the symptoms can lead to discomfort while sleeping. The regurgitation of acid on your teeth over time can damage teeth and your esophagus.

Symptoms (that you may notice):

  • Bad taste in your mouth (especially in the morning)

  • Burning in chest and/or throat

  • Shortness of Breath

  • “Wet” Burps

  • Nausea

Signs (that your doctor/dentist may notice):

  • Tooth erosion

  • Loss of enamel

  • Chipping/notching

  • Loss of height of teeth

  • Coating on tongue or gums


  • Reduce Stress: Sleep 8-10 hours, Exercise, Diffuse essential oils, Mediation/Bedtime routine

  • Elevate head slightly while sleeping, an adjustable base with elevation is a great product to consider

  • Avoid Trigger Foods and eating right before bed

  • See your dentist regularly to help manage potential tooth damage with intervention or protective toothpastes or mouth rinses.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Some people are unaware that they are grinding their teeth while sleeping. This action can severely damage your teeth and even result in tooth loss. If you are continually clenching your jaw while sleeping it can lead to TMD which encompasses a variety of acute and chronic jaw conditions and can be quite painful. Night time grinding and clenching may also be a sign of more serious conditions such as sleep apnea.


  • TMD (jaw joint disease)

  • Slowly flatten teeth

  • Crack or chip tooth (potential tooth loss)

  • Mouth Guards may be needed to reposition jaw while sleeping


  • Headaches/migraines

  • Neck and Jaw Pain

  • Clicking of Jaw

  • Broken Teeth

  • Sensitive Teeth


  • Body Repositioning while sleeping with pillow

  • Reduce Stress

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Many adults snore, not all have sleep apnea but it is often disruptive to their sleeping partners. If you have symptoms of Sleep Apnea you need to consult with your doctor. A sleep study will need to be conducted to diagnose. It is important to treat sleep apnea because it can have a significant impact on energy levels, memory, and day to day function, as well as puts people at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.


  • high blood pressure

  • heart disease

  • Stroke

  • Sleep deprivation- which can lead to falling asleep while operating heavy equipment


  • Loud snoring

  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep- which would be reported by another person

  • Gasping for air during sleep

  • Awakening with a dry mouth

  • Morning headache

  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

  • Difficulty paying attention while awake

  • Irritability


  • Opening of Airway: Elevation of head, Snore guards, CPAP machine


  • Maintain health weight with diet and exercise

  • Early pediatric interventions are something we have been learning more about

  • Adult orthodontics to enable proper jaw position and tongue space

  • Sinus surgery (if contributing)

  • Tonsil/Adenoid removal (if contributing)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms please talk to your doctor directly. Generations Dental in Downtown Hartland is a welcoming practice that is accommodating to your needs.

Generations Dental

Kelly Newman, DDS

139 East Capitol Dr.

Hartland, WI 53029

Phone: 262-367-2750

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