Daylight Saving Time (DST) will begin at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 8, 2020, in most areas of the United States and Canada. Those affected will have to contend with an hour less sleep and the associated Monday morning sluggishness, workplace/ school fatigue, and reduced productivity, but did you know that the time change can actually have a dramatic impact on your health? Individuals with untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are often impacted the most. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 18 million Americans have sleep apnea and that only 2.5% have been diagnosed and are currently in treatment, making DST and a double whammy for those yet to receive a diagnosis. What is OSA? According to the Mayo Clinic “Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder. It causes breathing to stop and start during sleep repeatedly.” Why should you call your dentist? “I often ask my patients about how they sleep, if they complain of headache, sore throat, loud snoring or display any of the factors of the Updated STOPBang Questionaire,” says San Francisco Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Edward L. Loev, DMD*. “If they are males over the age of 50, with large neck circumferences and maybe some extra weight I pay special attention to ask them the right questions about OSA,” he says. Dentists are increasingly the earliest diagnostician of sleep disorders and, as a result, are seeking out additional tools and methods for pre-diagnosis and aligning themselves with sleep specialists for patient treatment. Dental symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Tooth Grinding/Bruxism: Occasional teeth grinding is normal in most people. However, when it happens regularly and leads to tooth damage and even gum inflammation and recession, it can be a sign of another problem.
- Increase in Cavities: An increase in dental decay can also be a sign of sleep apnea. Grinding and clenching of teeth can lead to micro-fracturing in teeth. When these cracks occur, they allow access to food remnants and the bacteria that causes decay.
- Oral and Facial Anatomy: Individuals with small/narrow jaws and scalloped tongues are more prone to sleep apnea.
- Inflamed throat: Heavy snoring, which is common in those with sleep apnea, can cause redness and inflammation of the throat.
According to WebMD, springing forward in March is far more disruptive than falling back in November, and it can have a physical and mental impact on people’s lives. These disruptions can be more impactful to those who suffer from OSA, as they often feel symptoms of sleep deprivation regularly. DST and its associated sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm disruptions have been associated with the following:
- Increase Heart Attacks: Research has shown a 6.7% increase in heart attacks in the days following DST, and incredibly, 24% more people have heart attacks on the Monday after DST begins than on other Monday throughout the year.
- Stroke: American Academy of Neurology found that the rate stroke was 8% higher during the first two days of daylight savings time.
- Increased Rates Of Suicide and Depression: Studies conducted in Australia found an increase in suicide rates following DST.
- Fatal Car Accidents and Crashes: One study out of Miami University, reports a 6.3% increase in fatal car accidents during the six days following the spring time change.
- Workplace Injuries: The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted an increase in workplace injuries as well. This increase actually spans the summer months but begins around DST and ends when we fall back in November.
The impact of DST on most people will fade as their bodies adjust to the time change, but for OSA sufferers, this is everyday life – he or she grows accustomed to feeling like they need to fall asleep every time they stop moving during the day. If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of OSA or is hit extremely hard by DST, suggest that they reach out to their dentist or medical professional. A simple non-invasive appointment can change or even save the sufferer’s life.
Dr. Edward L. Loev, DMD, has been caring for his patients for decades from his dental office that overlooks San Francisco’s Union Square. He and his team take pride in providing the best quality and most gentle dental care available. While he doesn’t specialize in the treatment or diagnosis of OSA, he has committed his life to educating and caring for his patients as a whole, not just their smiles. He makes it a point of working out at his beloved Olympic Club gym daily to make sure that he practices what he preaches about good health and balance. Through kindness and empathy, he and his team have transformed 100’s of “non-dentist” people into people who enjoy their visits and take pride in their smiles and health. A dental relationship should be a positive, open one, where you feel comfortable asking questions and cared for by your dentist. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and fell concerned about OSA or are just in need or want of a new dentist, Dr. Loev and his team would love the opportunity to meet you and earn your trust and loyalty call them at 415-392-2072 or schedule an appointment online today.
- Only a Licensed Medical Doctor can diagnose Sleep Apnea. Dentists can use tools and observation to help address patients’ symptoms but will generally refer patients to Sleep Specialists for care and treatment.