This industry article is brought to you by the Foundation for Airway Health. Dr. Jerald Simmons, FAH Board member, discusses the critical need for earlier detection of dental problems to mitigate future health challenges. In this recorded talk from TEDxSugarland in 2019, he explains why people’s mouths hold the secret to good sleep.
“The lower jaw, or mandible, has a massive influence on our health and well-being. The mandible holds the tongue, and is part of the upper airway. When the jaw is small, it reduces the space for the tongue, crowds the back of the throat while asleep, and frequently leads to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This seemingly minor situation of a small jaw increases our risk of heart disease, stroke, heartburn and a host of other health issues.
When asleep, the tongue and muscles of the jaw typically relax and the back of the airway can become crowded. In many, the body attempts to prevent this blockage with actions such as, grinding-and-clenching teeth while asleep, keeping the airway open. This leads to tempormandibular joint dysfunction, pain and destruction of teeth. As a neurologist, Dr. Simmons examines the jaw and teeth of patients, looking for signs of sleep apnea. Physicians working with dentists can screen patients with this jaw problem and initiate treatment early-on, even in kids, before years of suffering takes place.”
-Foundation for Airway Health