Obstructive sleep apnea is common at all ages. But it occurs even more often in the transition from middle-aged to older-aged adults. For older adults with sleep apnea, do dentures affect their breathing during sleep?
A new study from Japan found mixed results. The study involved 34 adults who wear complete dentures. Their average age was 72.5 years. Twenty seven of the participants had at least mild sleep apnea with five or more breathing pauses per hour of sleep.
Sleeping without dentures, participants stopped breathing an average of 17.7 times per hour during one night of sleep. With dentures, breathing pauses during sleep decreased in 19 of the 27 participants. The average number of breathing pauses per hour of sleep with dentures dropped to 13.3. But in eight of the older adults, breathing pauses increased when sleeping with dentures.
Dentures certainly are no cure for sleep apnea in older adults. And the study did not measure how dentures may affect the use of CPAP therapy.
But older adults with sleep apnea should discuss denture use with their sleep doctor.
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