What Causes Snoring?

When your airway is partially obstructed, the air you breathe can’t follow a smooth path. The flow becomes turbulent as your body tries to bring in more air than the airway easily allows. This turbulent flow causes vibrations in the tissues of your throat. These vibrations create the sound that you hear as snoring.

To stop snoring, you need to open your airway to allow for smooth, sufficient breathing.

Dangers of Snoring

People often think of snoring as a simple nuisance. However, snoring is a severe health danger. It’s important to take snoring seriously before significant complications develop.

Sleep Apnea

Snoring is one of the most important warning signs of sleep apnea. In sleep apnea, your airway doesn’t just narrow; it closes completely. When this happens, your brain must awaken enough to resume breathing by opening your airway. This awakening keeps you from getting good rest at night and disrupts many of the body’s functions, leading to potentially deadly consequences. Numerous studies show that people with sleep apnea are at an elevated risk of death from multiple causes, from heart disease to car accidents to suicide.

Your risk of sleep apnea is greater if you snore loudly. If your snoring is loud enough to disrupt people’s sleep in your home, you should be tested for sleep apnea. You should also learn sleep apnea symptoms to see whether you should get tested.


Atherosclerosis is a form of hardened arteries with a buildup of plaque in the arteries. The vibrations that cause the sound of snoring can also cause tiny injuries in your carotid arteries–the large arteries that carry blood to the head and brain. These injuries scar over, and the scars become rough patches that collect fats, cholesterol, and other substances to create plaque buildup. This arterial plaque can become a significant danger, as it can break off, heading to the narrow arteries in the brain. When plaque blocks these arteries, it causes a stroke.

Domestic Conflict

Snoring is often played as a joke in sitcoms. The husband snores. The wife can’t sleep. She gets mad—cue laugh track.

It’s not as funny when it happens in your home night after night. Lack of sleep reduces your ability to address conflict rationally and compassionately. Since both the snorer and their bed partner aren’t getting quality sleep, conflicts can spiral out of control. The results can be ongoing unhappiness, divorce, or even escalating domestic violence.

Effective Snoring Treatment

As we noted above, snoring occurs when your airway narrows. To stop snoring, you need to open your airway. As a general rule, your airway narrows at night because gravity pulls on the tissues of your airway. Your muscles also relax, and there’s little bony support to keep the airway open.

The main bony support for your airway is your jaw, which is poorly positioned for many people to keep the airway open.

Oral appliance therapy is very effective for sleep-disordered breathing problems because it repositions your jaw to support your airway better. It’s crucial that you get a custom appliance because that’s the only way you can know that the new position will keep your airway open in a way that’s healthy for your jaw.

Over-the-counter appliances and other anti-snoring gadgets are ineffective and can contribute to jaw problems such as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD).

Get Snoring Treatment in Erie

If people in your house are tired of your snoring–or you’re tired of their complaining about your snoring–don’t wait another night before contacting someone for help. Loud snoring comes with a high risk of sleep apnea, so that it could be a matter of life or death.

Please call (814) 836-7777 to end snoring now with our Erie, PA dentist.