Does an Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece Really Work?
Research conducted through various sleep trials prove conclusively that they work. Before we examine how they work, we should first understand how snoring occurs.
Snoring is usually caused by a partial blockage of the upper airway behind the tongue. When you inhale during sleep, air enters the mouth or nose and passes across the soft palate on its way to the lungs. The back of the mouth where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula is collapsible. If this area collapses, the airway becomes narrow or blocked. The narrowed or blocked passage disturbs the airflow, which causes the soft palate and uvula to vibrate and knock against the back of the throat, causing snoring. The tonsils and adenoids may also vibrate. The narrower the airway is, the more the tissue vibrates, and the louder the snoring is.
An obstruction can be caused by a number of things: the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapsing during sleep, inflammation in the throat or nasal passages or excess weight around the throat which causes the tongue and soft palette to sink down, which also happens when we fall into a deep sleep due to drinking too much or taking medication.
A snoring mouthpiece works by repositioning your lower jaw so that it sits slightly further forward. This adjustment prevents the soft tissue and tongue from falling backwards and partially blocking the airway which leads to snoring, opening the airway to allow for the free-flow of air and preventing the vibrations caused when air is forced through. Even if your nasal passages and sinuses are blocked, the air will still move freely with the help of a snoring mouthpiece.
The mouthpiece is similar to a gum guard used by sports people. SnoreMeds mouthpieces are made from BPA and latex free FDA cleared Thermoplastic which can be moulded to your mouth through a simple process at home: drop it into boiling water, insert it into your mouth and using your fingers and tongue to mould it. This process can be repeated if the fit is not quite right the first time.
As with all treatments, people report varied success of using a snoring mouthpiece to treat their snoring. They work best for people who suffer from simple snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnea. It doesn’t seem to assist much when the user has severe obstructive or central sleep apnea so if you find a snoring mouthpiece doesn’t help, it would be worth visiting a doctor to ensure you are not suffering from one of these more serious conditions rather than simple snoring.
A snoring mouthpiece isn’t always comfortable immediately, and for the first few nights the repositioning of the jaw may lead to a bit of an ache the next day, but this usually goes within a few hours of waking up and no longer worries users at all after a few days. Overall, users report finding the device quite comfortable after a few nights of continuous use.
Another common issue is that the mouthpiece causes saliva to build up in the mouth, or makes the teeth feel tender. Again, these symptoms settle quickly with regular use. Over the long term, there may be tooth movement, changes in your bite or problems with the joint and muscles of the jaw. It is important to have a regular check up with the dentist who supplied the appliance to detect these problems early, so they can be dealt with.
For the majority of people who try it, a mouthpiece which can be moulded to their mouth does alleviate snoring if not eliminate it altogether and if it doesn’t prove effective, a simple re-mould generally does the trick. Another issue could be that the size is wrong. SnoreMeds snoring mouthpieces come in two sizes: regular, recommended for men, and small recommended for women.