In today’s interview I get to speak with dentist, Dr Meghna Dassani, about sleep apnoea and why sleep breathing disorders should never be ignored.

Meghna is very passionate about sleep apnoea and promoting healthy sleep through dental practices.

Motivated by wanting to find a solution for her husband, who was resigned to living with sleep apnoea, Meghna deep dived into the world of sleep-disordered breathing.

So many vital processes happen while we sleep; it is essential for repair, regeneration, as well as growth and development in young children. Problems with breathing mean poor quality sleep and can lead to serious consequences down the line.

Today, we learn more about how your dentist could help alert you to potential issues that might indicate breathing problems while sleeping, during a dental examination.

If you know someone who is interested in learning more about:

  • Why breathing problems during sleep are a serious issue
  • What is sleep apnoea
  • What are some signs and symptoms of sleep apnoea
  • How to recognise if your child might have breathing problems
  • Why snoring is a problem
  • What are risk factors and common misdiagnoses
  • How your dentist can help

Then this interview is for them.

I really enjoyed talking to Meghna, and learned a lot about how to recognise the symptoms of sleep problems, in children in particular.

Most of us probably don’t think of this as an issue that affects children but Meghna points out that the behavioural issues and the resulting misdiagnosis could simply be a sleep problem!

Special thanks to Meghna for joining me on the show.

Enjoy the episode!

Listen to The Podcast Episode

Hear episode 111 interview directly on your favorite podcast app by clicking a link below:

Meghna Dassani: Dentist and sleep apnoea expert

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Show Notes with Timestamp Links

Find summarised highlights of what we talk about during the interview.

Use the clickable timestamp links to jump directly to those points in the audio file below:

[00:08] – Introducing, Dr Meghna Dassani, a dentist who is passionate about promoting healthy sleep through dental practices. Dr Dassani warns her patients that sleep-disordered breathing such as snoring and sleep apnoea should not be taken lightly.

[01:03] – Sleep apnoea is when we stop breathing multiple times throughout the night. Meghna explains that the episodes typically have to be 10 sec or longer and why it is a problem when this happens.

[02:43] – Meghna says that her personal experiences with sleep apnoea spurred her to find out more about this condition and find treatments for her husband. She explains how the CPAP is used to treat sleep apnoea and why as a dentist she was inspired to create a custom appliance to help.

[04:52] – During dental examination there are signs and symptoms in the mouth that can indicate a patient might have a breathing problem. Meghna explains that the dentist is the first to notice signs of sleep apnoea in children.

Tip: Kids should never snore. Also, the signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation can be mistaken for ADHD.

[08:59] – Obesity is one of the leading causes contributing to sleep apnoea because of the excess weight creating more of an obstruction in the airway. Meghna explains how it can be difficult to make healthy choices when you are suffering from sleep deprivation.

[11:19] – For people with mild to moderate sleep apnoea using the oral appliance is enough. However, for people with severe problems a combination of the oral appliance and CPAP is necessary.

[12:48] – While sleep apnoea can be improved, people don’t get to a point where they can forgo treatment/assistance completely. Meghna explains this is why it is so important to treat children early and use growth spurts to grow their airways.

[14:14] – Starting from infancy, breastfeeding is important for getting the tongue in the correct position in the mouth, to ensure a healthy development.

[17:03] – Sinuses also tie into how the oral facial complex developed. If the palette is too narrow, it affects the nasal cavity which in turn affects the sinuses and also the ear canals. This may present as frequent ear infections (or headaches in adults).

[18:11] – Snoring is the first sign that there is something wrong with a persons breathing i.e. it can be indicative of sleep-disordered breathing.

Tip: If you are a snorer get a sleep test to ensure there are no apnoea issues, no oxygen level dropping.

[20:47] – Wearable devices can be a used as a tool to get started but it can not give us a diagnosis. Meghna recommends you see a doctor and do a sleep study to get evaluated properly.

[22:36] – Meghna explains there are different types of sleep apnoea; obstructive sleep apnoea and central sleep apnoea (caused by a lack of response from the repository centre in the brain).

[24:10] – While obesity is a risk factor, thin, fit people can also have sleep apnoea. Typically they have upper airway resistance syndrome and can be misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.

Tip: When diagnosed with these types of conditions consider whether you are getting enough sleep. Enough quality sleep? Are you waking up refreshed?

[26:31] – Mouth taping can be used to help with upper airway resistance but Meghna cautions to make sure you can actually breathe through your nose and there are no obstructions. Also, begin by trying 10 min during the day

[29:02] – A lot of people find that CPAP machines can be quite uncomfortable to wear but they have changed and improved over the years.

[30:49] – What does the oral appliance look like? Meghna explains how there is a brace in the top and bottom as well as how it works pulling your lower jaw forward to open up airways.

[31:53] – It is still possible to make an appliance for people without any upper teeth, you do need some lower teeth however. How many depends on the health of the gum and bone supporting them.

[33:36] – For anyone wanting to find out more, Meghna has a website with a lot of information and resources called meghnadassani.com