Sleep Apnea Can Kill

Teeth, or maybe I should say mouths, have been in the news lately.  

First, vitamin D and cavities.  According to The New York Times, low levels of vitamin D in pregnancy are associated with the development of cavities in babies, researchers say.

Children in the study had dental examinations when they were an average of one year old, and their mothers completed another questionnaire on breast-feeding, introduction of solids and other health and behavioral factors, The NYT reports.
"About a third of the women were deficient in vitamin D, 22 percent of the infants had deficient or thinning enamel and 23 percent had cavities," according to The Times.
After controlling for other factors, they found that the lower the prenatal vitamin D level in the mother, the higher the number of cavities in the child. Defective enamel and prenatal vitamin D levels were both independent predictors of cavities.
So the answer is clear.  Pregnant or planning to be?  Take plenty of vitamin D.  
Now for the other mouth part.  After the devastating Metro North accident that killed four people in December -- and the realization that the man running the train had dozed off due to sleep apnea -- the rail line is now requiring that all train engineers be tested for the disorder.

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep.

As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness, and often fatal accidents.

If you suspect you may have it, see your dentist, who may be able to fit you with a mouth device that can prevent or reduce the disorder.


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