Snoring is caused by the vibrations in your respiratory structures, and occurs when the area at the back of your throat or nose narrows after relaxing, restricting the air passage through the area.
Snoring can often be easily caused by things that we have complete control over, such as:
- Being overweight, causing stress on the neck area
- Excessive smoking, which inflames the airways and nasal passages
- Excessive alcohol consumption, which slows the responsiveness of the brain and causes all of your muscles to relax
- Certain medication, including antihistamines and sleeping pills
However, there are also other instances where snoring is a direct response to a hidden medical condition, such as:
- Common allergies
- Possessing a narrower throat passage than average
- Enlarged adenoids or cleft palate
- Ageing in men, which will widen the neck area and cause your soft tissue to vibrate with breathing
Excessive snoring can also be a symptom of a potentially fatal condition, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA can cause the airways to narrow, resulting in loud snoring and shallow breathing, and in very rare cases can cause the throat passage to close completely, where breathing cannot occur. OSA is quite difficult to diagnose, and as such many people will suffer from the condition and never be diagnosed in their entire life.
OSA can be caused by being excessively overweight or having enlarged or inflamed tonsils. There are many applications and products available that can alleviate snoring and the threat of OSA, and your dentist may also recommend having a custom made mandibular advancement device fitted to you when you sleep. This device holds your lower jaw and tongue forward, keeping your airway open and eliminating snoring completely.