Mouth Device Assists Breathing in Sleep

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Individuals who snore or have sleep apnea may benefit from wearing a mandibular advancement device while sleeping, concluded a study reported recently in Chest. The orthodontic device holds the jaw in a forward position and is individually adjusted to each individual's mouth. It works by keeping the airway from closing and allows individuals to breathe more easily.

To test the effectiveness of the device, the researchers followed 630 individuals who used the device. All of the participants were being treated for snoring and sleep apnea. During the 1-year study, the participants noted whether or not the device was working, and the researchers periodically observed sleeping participants for sleep apnea.

The study results indicated that 25% of the individuals who tried the device stopped using it because of certain side effects, such as excess salivation and shifting of teeth positions. Also, the device may work better in women, because research has suggested that moving the lower jaw forward opens women's airways more than men's.