Several factors determine whether you snore in your sleep: the structure of your sinuses and mouth, your weight, whether you smoke or drink alcohol and whether you suffer from nasal congestion. The treatment for snoring therefore depends on identifying the cause and finding the right device to help you (and your family members) get a quiet, good night of sleep.
Of all the anti-snoring products being marketed today, anti-snoring mouthpieces are a major draw; so, it is worth finding out how they compare with other devices.
How Anti-snoring Mouthpieces Work
When you fall into a deep sleep, the muscles in your mouth cavity relax, and this can cause them to fall back, blocking the airways. As the air forces its way across these tissues, there is a forced vibration that causes the typical sound of snoring.
Anti-snoring mouthpieces are dental devices placed within the mouth to help reduce snoring. Some anti-snoring mouthpieces hold up the soft tissues of the palate; others pull the jaw in front and prevent the tongue from falling back.
Although there are several different models available, all such devices work on the principle of holding up the tissues within the throat and preventing them from blocking the airways.
If your snoring is a result of tissues blocking the airway, anti-snoring mouthpieces are sure to provide you relief. There are a few disadvantages, though. For instance, you need to insert the mouthpiece into your mouth every night before sleeping, and in the beginning you’ll have to get used to this.
Some people find that using the mouthpiece makes their mouth secrete a greater amount of saliva that dribbles out without their knowledge; still others may find that their mouth tends to stay open when they use the anti-snoring mouthpiece, and this causes a dry mouth that leads to a foul mouth odor on waking.
Of course these problems can be overcome by using a chin strap that keeps your jaws in position so the mouth is held closed during sleep. Occasionally, if the anti-snoring mouthpiece is too tight a fit, it can lead to problems with the jaw joint; so it is important to choose the right model that is effective without causing you discomfort.
Some people are mild snorers and snore only when lying flat on the back. If this is true in your case, all you need to do is ensure you sleep on your side and the snoring will stop.
Now this is easier said than done; if you are used to sleeping on your back, this is probably the most comfortable for you. You may lie in bed on your side but once you fall asleep, you are most likely to get back onto your back and then, the snoring starts.
The tennis ball trick is an option to keep you from rolling back. Sew in a tennis ball into the back of your night clothes and anytime you turn onto your back, this will cause pain and in response, you go back to lying on your side.
However, some people find that this can be quite painful and often ends up disturbing sleep and is therefore, not a viable solution. If you want another method of keeping yourself in the right position to avoid snoring, try anti-snore pillows.
Anti-snoring pillows also need you to sleep on your side. They are designed in such a way that they keep your head elevated at an angle so that your airways remain clear. Of course, you need some time to adapt to this new way of sleeping, but once you get used to it, it may be the only anti-snoring aid you need to sleep in peace.
Nasal Devices for Snoring
People who snore because of nasal congestion generally benefit by the use of nasal devices. Nasal dilators are devices made of metal or plastic – they resemble nose rings and are to be placed within the nose at bedtime. The dilator helps to keep the nostrils well apart during sleep and this relieves the congestion and you stop snoring.
Several nasal strips that look just like sticking plasters are also available; you need to place these on the outside of the nose to keep nostrils apart and prevent the nasal passage narrowing in deep sleep.
If you chronically suffer from nasal congestion due to a cold or a sinus infection, you ought to look at methods that help relieve this underlying cause. Rinsing the nose with salt water and a hot shower before you sleep can help to clear the nasal passage of the congestion. Speak to a doctor about using nasal decongestants to help with your snoring because long-term use may not be advisable.
Mandibular Advancement Devices
In people who snore because of vibration of the back of the tongue, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) – also called a mandibular repositioning splint – may work better than other anti-snoring devices. This is designed in such a way that it causes your tongue and jaw to move forward, preventing the tongue from blocking the airways.
It’s similar to a mouthpiece as described at the beginning of this article, but must be custom-fitted for your mouth.
An orthodontist-designed MAD that is customized for you has an advantage over a simple anti-snoring mouthpiece in the sense that it can also help with sleep apnea. The drawback is that they may not be as comfortable, and are much more expensive … though as it’s prescription-only, your health or dental insurance may pick up most of the tab.
Do anti-snoring mouthpieces work? Yes, they do. Will a nasal device help to reduce snoring? Yes, it can. Do anti-snore pillows work? Yes, they do. Is a mandibular advancement device useful? Yes, it is.
The problem is, not everything works for everyone, so you may have to try several different methods until something works for you. It is best to first talk to your doctor or dentist to see what type of device will work for you.
Comparing between these devices has no meaning because each one works on a different mechanism and comes with its own pros and cons. The most important thing to remember is that rather than looking at which is the best anti-snoring device, you ought to focus on which one is the best for you.
Understand first the cause of your snoring, and you will be able to make an easy decision of which device to choose.