When it comes to snoring, there are many different reasons a person might suffer from this affliction. You may have found yourself wondering – can an overbite cause snoring problems? Should I fix my overbite to stop snoring? Can a mouthpiece help with this issue?
What are some possible causes of snoring?
Some of the common causes for snoring include sinus issues, obesity, obstructed airways or nasal passages, loose tissue in the throat, and yes, an overbite. The main issue tends to arise due to a blockage in your airways. According to Alive.com,
“The extent and reason for the blockage vary. For some people, anatomical problems in the mouth, throat, and jaw are the culprits. Extra throat tissue, large tonsils/adenoids (made up of lymphatic tissue), a low or thick soft palate, or a long uvula (which hangs from the soft palate) can block airways, causing snoring. So, too, can small chins or overbites, particularly in women.”
An overbite is when your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth. A slight overbite is normal, as it would be difficult to chew if our upper teeth landed exactly on top of our lower jaw. It’s simply not how humans were designed. The problem with snoring tends to arise when there is an excessive overbite.
When is an overbite excessive?
An excessive overbite happens when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by more than half the length of the tooth (so, typically around 2 to 3 mm of overlap). An excessive overbite, also referred to as malocclusion, can cause not only snoring issues, but problems with chewing, discomfort, and tooth loss in some cases.
There are multiple medical options available to help get rid of or minimize an excessive overbite. Braces or orthodontic retainers are the most common options to help you with an overbite. In extreme cases, oral surgery may be the best course of action.
But none of these options necessarily address the snoring issue, though once your overbite is remedied, you may find the snoring goes away on its own.
The link between snoring and an overbite
If you have an excessive overbite, what’s happening in your mouth is this: the jaw is pushed back so far that it can be pinching the airway, which causes an obstruction. When the air rushes past this reduced airway, the throat tissues vibrate against one another, causing the irritating noise we know as snoring.
An overbite tends not to be the primary cause for snoring issues. Other factors like being overweight or obese, drinking before bed, or taking medication with a sedative effect can contribute to snoring. It is actually relatively common for snorers who have an overbite also to be overweight or frequent users of alcohol and drugs, so for many, it’s worth addressing these issues to solve snoring first and foremost.
In some cases, an extreme overbite can not only contribute to snoring, but also to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). As your airway is obstructed thanks to the position of your mouth, it’s entirely possible for you to experience pauses in breathing or abnormally low breathing that points to sleep apnea. However, sleep apnea and snoring are two distinctly different issues and should be treated as such.
What other people are experiencing
An informational forum topic on the link between sleep apnea, snoring, and an overbite can be read here and offers plenty of useful information. One user, SleepDoc writes,
“However, there are many characteristics that can predispose someone to having sleep apnea. Being overweight, as has been mentioned, is one, as is genetics. However, just because you are overweight or have an overbite does not mean you WILL have sleep apnea. It merely means you are more likely to than someone who is not overweight or has an overbite.”
Another forum discussion featured a woman whose boyfriend had a snoring issue that was driving her mad. She wrote,
“I feel that I have to say something to my boyfriend. We just moved in together but his snoring drives me insane! I’ve tried music, ear plugs, headphones, sleeping pills and I always end up resorting to sleeping on the floor.”
A helpful user replied,
“I have sleep apnea which causes me to snore loudly. Mine is caused by my overbite so I ordered a mouthpiece online to help me breathe at night. I have recorded myself, before and after, and my snoring has gone down from hours to seconds. That might be a possible remedy for y’all if that is what is causing his problem. You can find them online anywhere from $25 up to $500.”
Can a mouthpiece help?
Is the user above correct in saying that a mouthpiece could help? The mandibular advancement device (MAD), commonly referred to as a snoring mouthpiece is a popular choice for people who need to stop snoring. It essentially works by holding the lower jaw in a forward position, which opens up the airways and ideally eliminates snoring by allowing the user to breathe better.
It’s one of the most effective snoring options on the market. But can it help you fix an overbite? The short answer is no. It’s designed to stop snoring, but it’s not designed to fix an orthodontic issue such as an excessive overbite. For that, you may want to look into solutions like braces, retainers, or surgery.
However, it’s worth noting that surgery is basically a last-resort option for most people with an overbite. It’s often invasive and painful, with a long recovery time, so it is not the first course of action in an overwhelming majority of cases. Additionally, if your main concern is snoring, there are so many different options to explore before you turn to surgery as a solution.
People with dental concerns like an overbite may want to look into options that offer options for customization, like the popular “boil and bite” devices. Products that use this method are placed in boiling water briefly to soften the material. After being removed they get cooled, and then placed in the mouth to receive a firm bite. This creates an impression in the soft material, so when it cools and hardens, it is molded to the shape of the user’s teeth.
Additionally, many mouthpieces can be professionally fitted by a dentist, which may help if the user has dental issues. Dental impression kits work slightly differently. With these products, you get a mouth tray and clay from the manufacturer. You bite into the clay and send it to the laboratory where your device is custom made.
You may consider that your tongue can influence both an overbite and a snoring issue. Tongue thrust, where the tongue protrudes through the front teeth during swallowing, speech, and while the tongue is at rest, can cause an overbite and dental issues. If this is the case, then it might be a good idea to look into a TSD, a tongue stabilizing device that can hold your tongue in place through the night to keep you from snoring. However, it will not solve an overbite issue. These devices are distinctly different than the mouthguard, so it’s important to determine why you snore before you purchase one product versus another.
When it comes to using any mouthpiece for a snoring solution, it’s a good idea to consult your physician as well as your dentist.
Which Product Should I Choose?
Every person has a unique mouth and needs, so one that is perfect for one person may not be the best option for another.
There are well over 100 products on the market, so making a decision can be quite daunting.
You will find a lot of helpful information in the comparison chart, and I have written reviews of several products.
If you would rather not spend a lot of time reading reviews, please consult my article titled “My Mouthpiece Recommendation”. I have compiled a list of three products that I believe are the best options, based on my experience.