The TAP® keeps the lower jaw forward (normal jaw position) and the airway open.
Relaxed jaw position causes the tongue (red) and the jaw to fall back into the throat and narrow or may even close the airway.

What are the causes for snoring and sleep apnea?

 

Our respiratory tracts are parts of our muscular system, above all the soft palate down to the larynx. During sleep muscle tension declines and the soft tissue relaxes. Passing air makes the soft tissues vibrate causing thus the typical snoring noises.

Snoring is considered to be harmless, if this does not lead to narrowing of the airway. Snoring, however, becomes dangerous when it indeed leads to narrowing or even obstruction of the airway. Breathing disorders or interruptions will be the consequence. In case of breathing interruptions of more than 10 seconds they are called “apnea”. It owes its name to a Greek word, apnea, meaning “want of breath”.

Disorders or even complete interruption of breathing lead to dramatic decline of oxygen saturation in the blood, to decrease in heart rate and increase of blood pressure. The final risk (the death by choking) is prevented by an automatic wake-up reaction of the brain (called arousal) leading to an increase of muscle tension and thus to an opening and protrusive movement of the lower jaw. The airway becomes wider letting the air pass without problems again, until the next obstruction occurs.

These apneas may occur up to 50-60 times an hour, in single cases even 100 times an hour.

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