Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a health epidemic associated with the modern diet and widespread obesity in this country. GERD is more than a nuisance: it can potentially be very damaging to your teeth and lead to a need for extensive reconstructive dentistry.

Some GERD medications work for some people, but they come with significant side effects, and overmedication is another health crisis our country is dealing with. If you are looking for a medication-free way to reduce GERD symptoms, sleep apnea treatment may be the best choice. And it also has the potential to help you live a longer, happier, healthier life.

A woman holding her side because of pain while sitting on a bed.

A Dramatic Improvement in GERD Symptoms

There have been several studies showing that sleep apnea treatment helps improve GERD. This recent study looked at 85 patients with obstructive sleep apnea and GERD. Six patients were excluded because they were taking medication for their GERD. The remaining 79 patients completed the six-month study. They had the severity of their sleep apnea measured using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and were prescribed CPAP for the duration of the study. Compliance with CPAP treatment was tracked using data from the machines, unlike earlier studies that relied on self-reported data.

People who complied with CPAP treatment saw a major decrease in GERD symptoms: 62%. Compliance means a minimum of four hours’ wear on 70% of nights. Patients needed to use CPAP for a minimum of 25% of nights to see any benefit in GERD symptoms.

Will Oral Appliances Work for GERD?

As with many sleep apnea studies, this study only looked at the use of CPAP for treatment. This makes it hard for us to know whether alternative treatments like oral appliances will give similar benefit.

However, some of the data in this study makes us think it will. GERD symptoms were strongly correlated with sleep efficiency: the lower the efficiency, the worse the GERD. Patients who complied with CPAP saw both their sleepiness and their GERD improve in parallel, so it’s likely that any treatment which improves your sleep may also improve your GERD.

Oral appliances are as effective as CPAP at improving overall sleep efficiency. And it can be better for many people because people are more likely to actually use an oral appliance than they are to use CPAP.

Are You Unhappy With CPAP?

Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but you are either unwilling to try CPAP or have had terrible results? It’s time to try a more convenient and comfortable alternative that may be more effective for you.

To learn more about alternatives to CPAP in Columbus, OH, please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Michael Firouzian.