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R. Kirk Huntsman
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R. Kirk Huntsman Is an Entrepreneur and Dental Industry Executive, Family Man. Kirk’s interest in the dental industry focuses on OSA.
R. Kirk Huntsman Is an Entrepreneur and Dental Industry Executive, Family Man. Kirk’s interest in the dental industry focuses on OSA.

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Why Pregnant Women Are Prone to Insomnia

The many stages of pregnancy are often coupled with difficulty sleeping. Insomnia is not uncommon in pregnant women, but it’s important to understand its potential effects that are, more often than not, completely harmless.

Roughly 8 out of 10 women whom are with child suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders throughout their pregnancies. These can range from difficulty falling asleep, to waking up frequently throughout the night, and everything in between. The symptoms don’t have to manifest themselves as serious, but a significant lack of sleep in any form can be considered insomnia.

There are a variety of reasons why pregnant women are more susceptible to insomnia in sleep disorders, the most common being hormonal changes and discomfort due to the size and weight of the abdomen. Standard pregnancy pains can also contribute greatly to a lack of sleep, like back pain, heartburn, persistent urination, and general anxiety.

Remedying this lack of sleep can be difficult, and results can vary from person to person. Many medical professional often recommend changing up your sleeping positions, and changing your sleeping environment for optimal comfort. This can be done by adjusting your thermostat to a relaxing temperature, and utilizing sound soothers to create an ambience throughout the room. Before bed, taking a warm bath or practicing yoga techniques you may have learned in a maternity class can help greatly as well.

It is important to note that sleeping pills and over-the-counter sleep medication can be potentially dangerous to your unborn child, though some are safer than others. These are typically the safest during the early stages of your pregnancy, and doses no higher than the recommended amount are best. Taking too many sleeping pills of any kind can be very dangerous for your health, and your baby’s health.

If you are continuously having trouble staying asleep throughout the night, rather than fighting it, some may suggest getting out of bed and grabbing a small snack or drink, or reading a book. Taking part in a relaxing activity when you are struggling to stay asleep can promote drowsiness. Similarly, taking naps throughout the day is crucial for pregnant women, though the shorter the better in order to best avoid affecting your normal sleep schedule.
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Sleep Apnea and Tooth Extraction: The Root of the Problem

Following a tooth extraction or root canal, so long as the dental professional performing the procedure has done the job correctly, patients typically experience pain that can be managed with standard painkillers. However, in rare cases, there have been recordings of people experiencing sleep disorders and general sleeping complications following a dental extraction.

To begin, it’s important to know exactly why tooth extractions are performed. Depending on just how crooked an individual’s teeth are, either braces or extractions are necessary for straightening. However, if someone has a decaying, damaged, or infected tooth, that calls for an immediate extraction, so long as the damage is extensive enough to bar repair.

The argument afterwards then becomes whether or not this standard procedure is capable of disrupting one’s sleep. To many people, it may seem unlikely that oral health and sleeping patterns are so closely connected. But, the two are very much related. Extractions specifically, on the other hand, are widely debated as to whether or not they are contributors to sleep disorders.

According to SleepApnea.org, roughly 80% of Americans suffering from sleep apnea are undiagnosed. This poses a problem for professionals wishing to study this specific case, as the results may be heavily skewed one way or the other. For now, researchers must pay attention to why the subject has even been brought to light.

Following a tooth extraction, it is possible for an individual to experience a decreased size in airways; something that is known to worsen sleep apnea. A study conducted in 2016 found that adults between the ages of 25 and 65 had an increased chance of developing obstructive sleep apnea by 2% with every tooth lost. Though a small, find this is another possible factor for the development of sleep apnea post extraction.

A common symptom experienced after having wisdom teeth removed is looser facial muscles. Patients may experience an increase in drooling throughout the night because of this, and, when lying on one’s back, sleep apnea. With the relaxed muscles pushing the tongue further back into the throat, the partially blocked airways can cause snoring, and constant periods of stopped breathing altogether.

While any study has yet to yield concrete evidence that tooth extraction does indeed cause sleep apnea, there are numerous findings that suggest this. Many dentists may agree that the fewer extractions an individual endures, the better. Again, this is not to say that the more teeth removed one has, the higher chances they have of sleep apnea, but the subtle clues pointing toward this do suggest that it is a possibility. For now, anyone suffering from this sleep disorder should work closely with their doctor, sleep specialist, or dentist for insight as to why they may have developed it.
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The Dangers of Sleep Apnea in Seniors

Rest. Your body requires rest and sleep for a multitude of reasons unknown to scientists, yet without it, your body can not function properly. If you’re not getting enough sleep or find yourself unseemingly sluggish throughout your days, you could have a dangerous sleep disorder that could turn a good night’s sleep into nightmare in a very literal sense.

Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is interrupted, thus you simply stop breathing in your sleep. Due to this disruption in breathing, your brain and body don’t get the oxygen they need. Although a common risk among heavy set males over the age 40, an unfortunate truth is that seniors can unknowingly suffer from sleep apnea.

Link to Memory Loss

A study found that sleep apnea in older women has been linked with memory loss. The study researched women over the age of 65, all who did not have dementia before the study. About ⅓ of the women in this study suffered from “sleep disordered-breathing”. In the end, the study linked the lower levels of oxygen during sleep with memory loss among the women. As a result, the study concluded that “Women who suffer from sleep apnea are twice more likely to develop dementia.” – AgingCare.com

The Increased Risks

There are a few types of sleep apnea, however obstructive sleep apnea elevates the risks of high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease and cognitive problems. All of these risks are already issues among seniors, so sleep apnea will only heighten already possible concerns. With age, the muscles begin to weaken, causing the throat to collapse which then results in a closed airway during sleep.

Strokes in older aged people are highly dangerous for many reasons. With sleep apnea, the brain is already lacking the oxygen it needs overnight. A stroke is known as a “brain attack” that will only worsen the brain’s function, and could lead to other conditions through cellular damage.

A combination of sleep apnea and high blood pressure are common causes of heart disease. The link between sleep apnea and heart disease is growing rapidly. When your brain and body don’t receive enough oxygen during sleep, the blood vessels in your body tighten up, causing a rise in blood pressure.


Sleep apnea is a danger to all ages, but especially to seniors because of its lethalness. Sudden death in people who suffer from sleep apnea is not uncommon. The risks and dangers of sleep apnea in seniors is more than a sleep condition. It’s a disorder that seniors should talk to their doctors about, have checked and discuss preventive options.
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How Poor Sleep May Lead to Dental Anxiety

Receiving a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep at night can determine how productive the following day may be, and many of us are all too familiar with the unfortunate side effects of sleeping any less than that. Aside from the negative impact a lack of sleep can have on your job, social life, and physical health, it can affect your mental health as well, specifically leading to cases of anxiety.

This increased feeling of anxiousness has been directly linked to dental anxiety, or essentially, a fear of going to the dentist. The regular fatigue and general lack of motivation can lead to one avoiding everyday tasks, including scheduling dentist appointments, prompting poor dental health.

A few common sleep disorders involving dental health include teeth grinding and restricted airways. Patients who grind their teeth in their sleep are much more likely to have negative experiences at the dentist’s office due to increased levels of pain from destroying their enamel over time. This association with the dentist and extreme pain can create a fear of scheduling these appointments. Having a restricted airway during sleep can affect the tonsils, cause dry mouth, and worsen pre existing ailments. Sleep apnea, one of the most common sleep disorders to obstruct airways, can become worse after diagnosed because of this anxiety.

Perhaps the best way to tackle this issue head on is to do exactly what your anxiety is telling you not to do; go to the dentist. Dental professionals are skilled in helping their patients cope, and eventually cure their sleep disorders, which, in turn, can cure their dental anxiety. Simply sitting down and talking with your dentist about the procedures necessary to maintain your dental health can establish trust, and a sense of comfort upon entering his or her office.

If the situation calls for it, there are a number of strategies you can implement in order to relax while in the dentist’s chair. Listening to music, breathing exercises, or additional medication can calm one’s dental anxiety before or during the procedure. The key is establishing a trustworthy relationship with your dentist. He or she will happily work with you on improving your dental anxiety, and will walk you through the steps necessary for the most success.

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that affects 1/3rd of Americans, and should be addressed by those suffering from it in order to maintain their health. In addition to the harmful effects a lack of sleep has on our bodies, our mental health can be affected as well. The increased levels of anxiety that have been linked to this can negatively affect our lives in many ways. Work closely with a sleep specialist or dentist to discuss any feelings of dental anxiety, or anxiety in general that you may be feeling after long nights consisting of little sleep.

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A Dentist’s Role in Improving Sleep

A surprising outlet one who is experiencing difficulty sleeping may have is his or her dentist. While it may seem like a waste of time bringing up sleep issues with a medical professional primarily focused on oral health, dentists have an impressive amount of insight on the connection between your teeth and how well you may be sleeping at night.

Like all medical professionals, a patient’s overall health is the main concern for dentists. With the many connections between oral health and how it affects all areas of the body, those in the dental industry have been trained to identify telltale signs of sleeping issues. For example, the alignment of one’s jaw and decaying enamel may display the habit of grinding teeth while sleeping, or having obstructive sleep apnea altogether.

If your dentist were to suspect that you suffer from a sleep disorder of any kind, you will typically receive a brief interview as they attempt to assess your personal situation, asking about your daily habits, if you happen to feel drowsy during any of those, or if you generally have trouble sleeping at night.

A large number of dentists have been trained to properly treat sleep apnea, and typically offer mandibular advancement devices depending on the nature of one’s case. Tongue retaining devices work best for those who experience excessive snoring, as the tongue is held in a forward position, preventing any blocking of the airway. Continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP, helps provide airflow throughout the night for anyone struggling with sleep apnea, and frequent stoppages in breathing.

If your dentist suspects that you may be experiencing a sleep disorder that may have gone unnoticed, they may be able to provide alternative methods of treatment, or general tips to help you treat the condition yourself. This is not to say that if you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, you should consult your dentist first. Though they may be knowledgeable on the subject, it is not their primary area of focus. You will be (and should be) referred to a sleep physician to properly treat these sleeping complications.


However, they can help. If your case is not an emergency, bring the subject up during your next dentist appointment, and he or she may be able to share their knowledge, and help you better control your sleeping patterns.

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3 Ways You Can Prevent Jet Lag

What may be surprising to some is that jet lag is typically considered a temporary sleep disorder, which occurs when traveling from one time zone to another in quick succession. Because of the human body’s internal clock that tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up, also known as the circadian rhythm, traveling to a different time zone can be disorienting due to your body still being synced to the original time zone that you had just left. The symptoms can worsen the farther you go as well.

These symptoms can range from daytime fatigue to gastrointestinal problems, and every general symptom of sleep deprivation in between. Fortunately, jet lag is a temporary disorder, and there are several ways in which you can prevent falling victim to it.

1. Plan Ahead

Though planning ahead is an obvious must when traveling anywhere in the world, for those visiting destinations that are in drastically different time zones, you’ll want to plan ahead in a different sense. Gradually adjust your sleeping patterns in preparation for the new times you’ll need to go to sleep and wake up. For example, if you are traveling east, go to sleep an hour earlier than you normally would for a few days, eventually upping that to two hours earlier. The opposite goes for those heading west.

2. Maintain Your Health

Everyone understands the benefits that come with a proper diet, exercise, and good night’s sleep. The trick is actually implementing those habits within your daily routine. In terms of jet lag prevention, they can be even more beneficial. Some studies have shown that a better overall sense of wellness can increase your body’s adjustment to the new time zone. When on the plane or upon arrival, try to avoid developing the “vacation diet,” in which you have very little limitations with what you eat and drink. Overeating, alcohol, and caffeine all directly affect your sleeping patterns, and can worsen the symptoms of jet lag.

3. Don’t Force Sleep

A common mistake many travelers make when entering a new time zone is giving in to their bodies’ circadian rhythm, and going to sleep regardless of the local time. If you arrive at your destination at 10:00 a.m., no matter what time your body thinks it is, go about your day accordingly. Don’t force yourself to sleep during earlier times. Set an itinerary beforehand, and set out to accomplish all that you can in that first day. If napping is a necessity, try not to go over 20 or 30 minutes.

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The Future of the Dental Industry

The dental industry as a whole is an ever changing commerce that fluctuates with the ebb and flow of the economy, changing its method of delivery of services at a fairly frequent rate. For stakeholders and providers of dentistry to maintain relevancy, they must embrace the future, and all the changes that come with it.

One of the major positives to note in dental hygiene is the fact that more and more people are acknowledging the relationship between oral health and total health overall. Individuals are beginning to take better care of their teeth and gums now that more knowledge on the subject has been brought to light. With that said, a shift in the demographic has taken place. Older members of society are beginning to maintain healthy sets of teeth for longer periods of time, forcing developers of implants, dentures, and other oral substitutes to adjust their methods and improve the products’ lasting abilities.

A rather grim statistic the world of dentistry is facing is the dwindling number of students entering the field. Enrollment in dental schools has been declining within the last few decades, leading to a larger number of retiring dentists with fewer professionals to fill their spots. Because of this, the number of businesses seeking to hire dentists is shrinking as well. This proves extraordinarily difficult for those who reside in states that require hygienists to employed by licensed dentists.

These changes bring into question the traditional model of a team of hygienists led by a single dentist. While it is unlikely that this model will change entirely, innovation is bound surface in this area. For example, the areas in which dentists and their teams may practice is almost guaranteed to change within the coming years. Rather than working out of one office, these dental professionals may visit retirement communities, schools, health clinics, or even offer in-home visitations.

Due to constantly changing times, many hygienists are becoming entrepreneurs, in that they are designing their own ways to deliver the care needed by patients, and focusing on the “how” and “where.” One of the ongoing debates is improved portability that includes every tool necessary in a dentist’s or hygienist’s handbag. The more easily a dental professional is able to travel with his or her equipment, the further they can go, both literally and figuratively.

Customer service in the field of dentistry is perhaps as important if not more than the services provided themselves. Patients should be comfortable, and receive the best care possible by all dental professionals. A common cause for concern among patients is the pain that comes with certain procedures. A step in the right direction in terms of innovation would be developing tools, and processes that make one’s experience in a dentist’s office much more enjoyable and pain-free; something that is easier said than done with what little we know about anesthesia, for example.


Many dental professionals are constantly working at a diligent pace to improve their practices and standards and adapt with the changes that the future brings. As they do so, the challenges brought forth create an entirely new set of goals for all dentists and hygienists to strive for, possibly further improving the industry at a faster rate.
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