Have we finally found the best cure for snoring?

A recent study found that mouthguards are more effective than other snoring treatments - Image by ConsumerAffairs

Maybe, but make sure you consider three important things

If you’re one of the 150 million individuals in the United States who snore, heads up.

New research claims that people who snore without obstructive sleep apnea - as well as their frustrated partners - may finally have a better option than those CPAP machines, sleeping on your side, wearing some sort of adhesive strip on your nose, and everything else we do to stop snoring.

A study published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery reports on a clinical trial involving 50 couples. Researchers found that both mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and combined airway and positional therapy (CAPT) reduced what’s known as primary snoring and improved the couples’ sleep. 

The results 

At the end of the four-week study, there was some impressive improvement among the people who used MAD. Nearly all – 91% – of the partners whose snorer used the mouthguard said the snoring got better.

In the group that didn't use the mouthguard, only 58% of partners noticed improvement. This means the mouthguard was about 33% more effective. Not to mention they are a non-invasive alternative to surgery or CPAP machines, and are small and easy to take with you when you travel.

“The results of this randomized clinical trial showed that the MAD may be more effective than CAPT for treating primary snoring, while both treatment options were found to reduce primary snoring,” the study’s authors reported in their analysis.

“Physicians should have a patient-centered discussion to determine which treatment is best for individual patients with primary snoring, weighing convenience, adverse effects, and cost as factors.”

So you want to go MAD?

If this MAD’ness interests you, here are some things you need to know:

There are two main types of MADs: There’s the custom-fit kind which is made by a dentist or orthodontist and are tailored to the specific shape of your mouth. Then, there’s the boil-and-bite type, softened in hot water and then molded to your teeth. Those are far less expensive and can be purchased over-the-counter. 

Just beware that there are considerations with a MAD. 

  • Comfort: You’ve got to give yourself some time to get used to wearing a MAD.

  • Side effects: Minor side effects such as jaw soreness and excess saliva have been reported.

  • Not for everyone: If you have severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or certain dental problems, MAD may not be the answer. 

The first thing you should do, though, is consult your doctor or dentist if you're struggling with snoring to see if a MAD might be right for you. A MAD specialist can recommend the right type for your needs and help you decide if it is right for you and which route you want to take – the custom-fit type or the over-the-counter kind.

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