You may not think of your dentist as part of a fight against cancer, but new research has linked better cancer outcomes with sleep apnea treatment. Though the findings were derived from early animal research, it’s significant as the first possible link between oxygen restriction and cancer. Dentists like Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot believe that they offer the best way to ensure open air passageways in the night.
A new animal study presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Munich has shown that tissues and organs starved of oxygen – even in small intermittent bursts – promotes an increase in Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and the formation of blood vessels within tumors.
Lead researcher Antoni Vilaseca, MD, MS from the Hospital Clínic De Barcelona in Spain reasoned: “Patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea usually suffer from intermittent hypoxia at night. This work shows that intermittent hypoxia has the potential to promote the formation of blood vessels within tumors, meaning that the tumors have access to more nutrients.”
He adds, “This is of course an early animal study, so we need to be cautious in applying this to humans. Nevertheless, this work indicates a plausible mechanism for just why conditions which restrict oxygen flow to tissues, like sleep apnea, may promote cancers.”
Professor Arnulf Stenzl, chair of the EAU Congress Committee, added that the study is remarkable because it may be postulated that increased oxygenation may be the real reason behind better cancer outcomes – whether it’s through sleep apnea treatment, cardio exercise, giving up smoking, or reducing Body Mass Index.
New York Dentists Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry say they offer a better alternative to conventional CPAP machine treatment for sleep apnea. The use of a custom-made mouthguard-type appliance at night keeps the mouth and tongue in a neutral position to prevent air passageway blockage.
“CPAP machines traditionally have low compliance rates,” Dr. Elliot explains. “There are issues with leaky valves, discomfort with the face mask, and difficulty with portability when traveling. By contrast, a small oral appliance is less irritating to wear at night and easier to take on a business trip or vacation.” Additionally, he says oral appliances are typically covered by insurers, making it an affordable option for most patients.
The best candidates for oral appliance therapy include patients with:
The best way to know if you are a candidate for this sleep apnea treatment is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick in their Long Island office by calling 631-744-5700.
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