Habitual snoring is an extremely common condition, affecting 40% of adult men, 24% of adult women and up to 12% of children. The typical sound occurs when there is a partial blockage of the airway during sleep and the limited space makes the air cause a vibration in the soft tissues of the throat.

There are many factors that can cause snoring, including bad bite, sleep apnea, nasal congestion, use of tobacco, alcohol and sedatives and other conditions in the mouth. Being a male, overweight, over 40 years of age and having a family history of snoring increases the risk for it.



Snoring can disrupt the normal saliva output, leading to dry mouth. According to the American Dental Association, lack of saliva can cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, infections and sores in the oral tissues. It can also develop a burning sensation in different parts of the mouth.

The main oral problem that lead to snoring is the lack of space for the tongue. This results in a more backward position of the tongue, causing partial blockage of the airway.

Although snoring itself might not be a serious problem, it is often a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. This is a serious medical condition, where the tongue blocks the airway, leading to sleep interruptions to restore breathing.

Narrow jaws, as well as excessive overbite (when the lower jaw sits far back in relation to the upper jaw) are two examples of bad bite that can contribute to an inadequate tongue position, breathing problems and sleep problems. Misaligned jaw joints, called temporomandibular joint disorder, can also result in poor positioning of the lower jaw and consequent breathing problems.

Because the upper jaw is the floor for the nasal cavity, narrow dental arches lead to narrow nasal cavities, with leads to mouth breathing and potentially snoring.

Another possible cause of snoring is a partly erupted wisdom tooth. Some people develop inflammation around the crown during eruption, which can cause the mouth to stay open during bedtime, resulting in snoring. Resolution of the inflammation is crucial in these cases.



The orthodontist can offer good solutions for snoring.  Custom-made dental devices can be used to change the position of the tongue and the lower jaw, opening up the airway through a simple non-invasive solution. The benefits of dental devices to treat snoring range from improvement of airflow to better sleep patterns, normal saliva production, improved oral health and reduced noise and frequency of snoring.

Expansion of narrow dental arches through orthodontic treatment can be necessary in more severe cases of snoring and sleep apnea in order to provide more space for the tongue.

Clear aligner therapy can successfully correct bite issues and provide a more functional relationship between the jaws and the tongue. This result in better breathing, increased oxygen levels, and decreased risk for serious health complications. Did we mention that clear aligners are easy to use, are removable and do not affect the appearance of your smile? This option is excellent for adults who need to correct their bites and their smiles.

Are you concerned about your snoring? Your orthodontist can help you find possible causes and treatments.