Virtually everyone has those off days – when they just can’t seem to sink into whatever task is on their plate, whether it’s a project around the house, their schoolwork, or responding to the 100 unopened emails in your inbox. But if you’re constantly feeling distracted or like you have the inability to concentrate, the problem may be more serious. And you may be surprised to learn, this lack of focus may not have anything to do with behavioral disorders like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). In fact, poor concentration can actually be tied back to your oral health, whether you’re an adult or a child.
Most children may have difficulty when they’re suffering from some sort of tooth pain – or alternatively, they may be afraid to reveal the pain because it likely means a visit to the dentist. Oral health issues like a toothache, early tooth loss, or decay, can lead to impaired speech development, a lack of self-esteem, or an inability to concentrate. These types of setbacks can also impact a child’s social skills and school attendance or performance. It’s critical to identify when a child is experiencing pain or suffering from another oral health concern. Start by positioning the dentist as someone who can help, not harm, the child. If you notice your child’s eating patterns change or if their teacher reports a sudden shift in attention span, investigate whether an oral health problem may be the cause. Do not hesitate to take them to the dentist – early intervention is critical to restore your child’s literal and figurative smile.
While it’s certainly common for adults to feel like they’re dragging their behinds out of bed some days, if you’re feeling fatigued each and every morning, chances are it’s also impacting your day-to-day activities. A lack of sleep diminishes your ability to focus – reducing your productivity, but also potentially leading to more dangerous scenarios, like not concentrating when behind the wheel or taking on a potentially risky task at work.
So what’s a possible cause of your tossing and turning? It could be sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition that impacts upwards of 18 million Americans, many of whom aren’t receiving any treatment. Sleep apnea causes you to either temporarily stop breathing or take short breaths while sleeping. Severe cases of sleep apnea can result in up to 30 ‘episodes’ per hour. Left untreated, sleep apnea can become more serious as you grow older or gain weight (the latter of which can be tied to a lack of sleep), potentially leading to heart disease, depression or stroke. And of course, the aforementioned lack of concentration.
Oral health is often directly tied into sleep apnea. If your airways are blocked by your tonsils, palate, uvula, throat or tongue – all of which can easily become inflamed by pollutants or allergens – your airflow is compromised, leading to sleep apnea. The best way to determine if you have sleep apnea is through a take-home sleep apnea screening kit, available from your dentist. This useful device will track your breathing patterns and sleep activity, all from the comfort of your own bed.
If it’s determined you do have sleep apnea, you may want to invest in an oral appliance that will reposition your lower jaw, allowing for air to flow smoothly. As a bonus to curing your sleep apnea, this appliance should also help cut back on snoring and allow you to get that good night’s rest you truly deserve.