Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a structural condition, which is seen as a sleep condition rather than a structural condition during sleep. Studying the same structural relations associated with OSA, while we are both awake and asleep, can and will provide a better understanding for how they function.
Medicine’s principles of the CPR (cardio-pulmonary-resuscitation) sequence of “airway-breathing-circulation” illustrates, although closely tied together, that the airway, essentially the jaw-tongue-throat anatomic and functional relationship comes first. It controls airflow and one’s ease of, even potential for, breathing, as well as its effect from and affect on the rest of the body
The design function of the body is “to keep itself alive”, and it compensates for structural compromise to airflow through the throat by:
Clenching and/or grinding teeth (more often during sleep)
Increased adrenaline secreted as in the “fight or flight” response to increase muscle tone and activity support the above actions, breathing, circulation and more
Posture changes (poor posture while awake and postural changes while asleep)
The Impact On Beauty
The tooth clenching and grinding is associated with TMJ issues of pain and poor posture. Worn teeth from grinding often decrease facial support leading to wrinkles and frown lines from jaw and facial muscle changes.
The increased frequency and intensity of the “fight or flight” or “stress response” is in actuality “stress” – stress impairs beauty and health.
Posture change, as forward head posture, which continues impacting total posture, not only predisposes us to musculoskeletal pain (adding to the stress response), compression of the rib cage, lung capacity and even vital organs. The illustration below shows a positive impact on increasing the airway by allowing the jaw and tongue to fall forward as influenced by gravity while sitting or standing while awake.
For every inch your head moves forward, the head gains 10 pounds in weight and the muscles in your upper back and neck have to work harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping forwards onto your chest.
This increases with aging as does OSA and osteoporosis. The chronic stress response from the adrenal gland on the other glands of the endocrine system affects the body’s ability to absorb and assimilate calcium. Note the illustration below:
Compensation detracts from our concept of beauty.Appropriate dental intervention focusing on Oral Systemic Balance to maximize ease of breathing can likely prevent, or minimize, this as it addresses much of the origin of OSA.