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Side effects associated with using a Mouthpiece for snoring

side effectsFor over 2 decades now, snoring suffers have been using mouthpieces (oral appliances) to alleviate their snoring problems. This practice has been studies by multiple medical researchers and while many of them argue over the exact rate of their effectiveness, they all agree that such devices effectively controls snoring to some degree.

During their studies, researchers began to take notice of a few mild to moderate common side effects as they began to surface. Here are the most prevalent ones that some have experienced.

Dry mouth / Hypersalivation

drymouthDry mouth and Hypersalivation are perhaps the most common side effects experienced by users. Dry mouth is most commonly seen when mouth breathers choose an oral appliance that is designed with a narrow opening which allows a concentration of high volume air to create a stream. This stream of air then travels through the mouth when it enters the airway. The continuous movement of concentrated air tends to dry out the mouth.

The other extreme is hypersalivation and this can be experienced with both types of mouthpieces, with breather holes and without, although it is more prevalent in devices without.

Throughout the years most people have likely slept with nothing in your mouth. When a large piece of plastic is inserted, your body will try to adjust and may create excessive salivation. As a result, you awaken with your face in a puddle of drool.

Tooth discomfort / Pain

toothacheAn oral appliance is also known as a Mandibular advancement device and works by holding your lower jaw (mandibular) in a slightly forward (advanced) position in an effort to clear a restricted airway.

The typical design of a MAD consists of two dental trays that are custom fitted to conform around your teeth. While design may vary, most use the front of the upper teeth and the rear of the lower teeth to hold the mandibular forward. This mean that your will experience constant light pressure on your teeth as you sleep and may wake up in the morning with soreness around your gum line or teeth.

Masticatory muscle pain or stiffness

As mentioned, this treatment works by pulling the lower jaw forward and holding it there as you sleep. While you may not experience tooth discomfort, you are likely to experience stiffness or pain in your jaw muscles at least for the first couple of days. Jaw muscles are not use to being stretched and held such an unnatural position for an extended period of time. As a result, you will likely experience an aching sensation for a few days. This is similar to the feeling experienced when going back to working out after taking an extended break.

So far, the side effects discussed are common and generally considered mild and typically go away on their own after just a few days. The following side effects are far less common and more serious than the previously mentioned.

Changes in occlusion 

occlusionSome long term users have reported a change in their occlusion. While pulling the jaw forward for 8 hours or more per day, you could potentially run the risk of your jaw remaining in the forward position once the piece is removed. The muscles can become accustom to resting in this position and remain there. However, this side effect is not of extreme prevalence.

Loose teeth

LooseOne of the least common side effects is loose teeth. This is most commonly experienced by those who already have an existing issue with their teeth which is further irritated by using an oral appliance. Once again, this is not a common side effect but it is something that you should be aware of.

More information

Keep in mind that an over the counter oral appliance should not be used for the treatment of sleep apnea without the close supervision of a doctor. There is a plethora of excellent studies which highlight some of the side effects of a snoring mouthpiece. A few of them are here here and here.

Which mouthpiece should I buy?

The anti-snoring mouthpiece is one of the most highly effective stop snoring solutions available. With over 100 different products to choose from, deciding which one to buy can be challenging.

As a snorer and product reviewer, I have tried many of these devices and created a list of recommended devices that will help to make this decision much easier.

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