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Oral Breathing Devices for Snoring

Topic Overview

Several oral devices have been tested to treat people with snoring, including a tongue-retaining device that is worn while sleeping. It pushes the tongue and jaw forward, improving airflow. Changing the position of the lower jaw enlarges the airway and decreases the chance that it will collapse when you inhale. This may reduce snoring. This device is called a mandibular repositioning device.

Some oral breathing devices supply electrical stimulation to the throat muscles to prevent the airway from collapsing when you sleep.

Research shows that oral breathing devices can reduce snoring.1

Possible problems with devices that fit inside the mouth may include:

  • Buildup of saliva in the mouth, requiring frequent swallowing.
  • Discomfort, especially in the morning. Because the devices can be uncomfortable, people tend not to use them over the long term.
  • Damage to teeth, soft tissues in the mouth, and the jaw joints. A dentist or orthodontist needs to fit the device to prevent these problems.

Excess saliva in your mouth and mild discomfort should become less bothersome with regular use.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Hensley M, Ray C (2008). Sleep apnoea, search date May 2008. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Last Revised January 20, 2012

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