Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oral Appliance Therapy for Acid Reflux

A recent study reveals another advantage of choosing oral appliance therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The findings show oral appliances can reduce symptoms of acid reflux disease.

The study involved a group of 56 dental patients who sought oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea. After undergoing a sleep study, the participants answered a questionnaire about acid reflux symptoms. Researchers looked for improvements when the patients answered the same questions during a follow-up appointment.

Scores on the acid reflux symptom test improved for both men and women after nightly oral appliance use. The results were best when patients used an oral appliance for six hours per night for more than 20 days per month.

It’s still unclear why oral appliances help reduce acid reflux symptoms due to study limitations. Researchers speculate it may be due to an increase in reflux barrier pressure, a decrease in arousal and fewer breathing pauses.

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is common for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Apneic episodes can cause stomach juices to leak up into the throat, leading to swelling and inflammation.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.