Will Oral Appliances One Day Be an Early Intervention for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is multifactorial, with sleep disturbances linked to its pathology. A growing body of research in Alzheimer’s is focused on finding interventions that could potentially slow the process of cognitive decline in aging.

Preliminary findings from a recent study published in the journal Geriatrics suggest that reducing snoring—in this case, with an oral appliance—is tied with improved cognition.

An oral appliance is a custom-made device made by a dentist who has special training in dental sleep medicine. This training qualifies them to evaluate and treat, upon appropriate diagnosis, snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea using one of these special devices. They gently bring the jaw forward at night and are fabricated for each individual.

The study, led by researchers from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas and Texas A&M University, is promising but included only 18 individuals. A more extensive longitudinal study is planned to expand on these initial findings.

Knowing that there is such a defined link between snoring, sleep issues, Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive deficits, don’t we have the obligation to treat everyone who snores?  The best opportunity to determine if a patient is first a candidate for an oral appliance and second actually has snoring or obstructive sleep apnea is to be seen by someone specially trained in dental sleep medicine.

Fortunately, at Dental Professionals we have Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Katz who have years of experience. In fact, Dr. Schwartz is the current president of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and has authored numerous articles and lectured internationally as one of the foremost experts on the subject.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss this most important health concern, please give the office a call and set some time up to be evaluated and help put your mind to rest!