If you visit a dentist regularly, you may be familiar with the many services they offer, from cleanings to serious oral surgeries. But it may surprise you to learn that dentists also have lots of experience in recognizing issues that aren’t just about the teeth and gums, like mouth-breathing or sleep apnea. For these conditions, there are dental solutions available and some alternative therapies, like the Buteyko Breathing Method.
What is the Buteyko Breathing Method?
In the 1950s, Dr. Konstantin Buteyko formed a theory that some respiratory conditions – particularly asthma and sleep apnea – can be caused by hyperventilation. Hyperventilation affects the blood, lowering the levels of carbon dioxide available. This then affects the blood’s pH (acid-base) balance along with its oxygen levels. Dr. Buteyko theorized that people who are chronic deep breathers or have accelerated breathing rates were more likely to have other issues related to breathing because of this imbalance.
As part of this alternative physical therapy, patients are taught to breathe in a slower, more controlled way. Through nasal breathing, a slower pace of respiration, and focusing on relaxation, this method attempts to “retrain” breathing patterns. This may help to rebalance the CO2 and oxygen levels in the blood, along with reducing the need for steroids and bronchodilators.
Does the Buteyko Breathing Method Work?
For some people, it can work. These breathing exercises shouldn’t replace prescribed medication or medical advice you receive, but they may help to improve quality of life. Professional opinions are divided on Buteyko breathing. There aren’t many scientific studies available on its effectiveness, but some patients credit it with relieving the symptoms of asthma, sleep apnea, and airway muscle spasms.
For sleep apnea in particular, your dentist may also offer another solution to lessen airway blockage and snoring. At My Family Dentistry, we provide a sleep apnea assessment and custom-fit oral appliances that reposition the jaw during sleep. This comfortable, non-invasive option lets you breathe easier and get the healthy, necessary rest your body needs.
Dr. Wes has years of experience in helping patients overcome dental issues beyond teeth cleaning and alignment, including sleep apnea. Contact us to set up your next appointment.