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February 04, 2019
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Research shows that six hours is the minimum sleep time each night required to help heart health.  And that has to be at least six hours of sound sleep, not restless sleep.  This is associated with reducing the amount of plaque in your arteries!

The study of 4000 adults with average age 46, done by Jose Ordovas and his team at National Center for Cardiovascular Research in Madrid, Spain, showed lack of sleep and/or poor quality of sleep raises the chance of having a buildup of plaque in the arteries.  This condition is called atherosclerosis and as you know this will increase the chance of you having a heart attack or a stroke.

Drugs, diet, and exercise are some of the ways to fight this heart disease, but according to this study, at least six hours of good sleep is also a big weapon in this fight.  These studies can never prove cause and effect.  But less than 6 hours of sleep per night was associated with a 27% more likelihood of having atherosclerosis.  And poor quality sleep was associated with a 34% more likelihood of having atherosclerosis.

You can find this study in the January publication of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.   

A big factor in lack of sleep and poor quality sleep is a sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  The main symptoms of OSA are loud snoring and excessive daytime tiredness.  A sleep test done in your own home can reveal whether or not a person has this condition and it is totally treatable.  A simple dental device worn at night can be your solution.

 Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help people live free with no limits!  It is the only Comprehensive Sleep Center in the Inland Empire.  He is the only dentist that is both a Diplomate in the American Sleep and Breathing Academy and a Qualified Dentist in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.  His office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  The website for more information is and the office phone is (208) 667-4551.  Schedule an appointment for a free consultation today!


Hokkaido University in Japan has a group of scientists who have studied the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and glaucoma, and have found that there can be damage to the optic nerve in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. But the interesting thing is that the lack of oxygen due to the obstructive sleep apnea does not cause a brief sharp increase in eye pressure. Therefore, these patients with glaucoma have normal eye pressures.

Glaucoma is a disease where the optic nerve is damaged because of increased eye pressure, or is it? This study seems to show that the damage may be caused by something else in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Glaucoma causes a smaller field of vision and can result in blindness. But patients with obstructive sleep apnea seem to have glaucoma at about ten times the rate of patients who do not have obstructive sleep apnea.

This was a difficult study to perform — to measure eye pressure in sleeping patients, but these scientists were able to do it. Normally, when patients breath out, the eye pressure increases. But in this study, the scientists found that eye pressure decreased when the patients had an apnea event (stopped breathing). This seems to indicate that the optic nerve damage can be from the drop in oxygen without an increase in eye pressure.

This study could help scientists find out why some patients with glaucoma have normal eye pressure. The relationship of obstructive sleep apnea to medical conditions is still unknown to a large extent as this study has shown.

January 20, 2019
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Hate  Your  ‘CPAP’ ??

Of the ten problems listed by Mayo Clinic that people who use CPAP for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) commonly have with their CPAP, none address the power source problem!  Where do you plug the machine in?  Camping, backpacking, hunting, etc. — a small custom-made oral device may be your answer. Below are Mayo Clinic’s list.

First is the wrong style or size of mask. There are dozens of styles and it could take weeks for you to find the right one, especially if you have facial hair. There are masks that cover your nose and mouth and others that go on or into your nose - if you can tolerate them.

Second on the list is a real BIG problem — patients cannot get used to having that mask on their face. Studies have shown that if a patient cannot tolerate any mask within the first month, they usually never will be able to tolerate one.

The third problem they list is the patient’s inability to put up with air being forced into their airway. Some have a constant pressure; some have two different pressures; and some have automatic pressure based on how you breathe.

The fourth issue is the dry, stuffy nose caused by the pressurized air which can lead to other problems with the sinuses. Humidifying the air can help but increases contamination.

Fifth is claustrophobia and suffocation feelings resulting in panic attacks. And the higher the pressure required, the more these feelings can cause the patient to become intolerant to CPAP.

Leaking masks is the sixth issue and they can leave marks on the face for hours in the morning. Dry eyes, skin problems, and ulcerated lesions on the nose are common. Facial hair is a major reason for a leaking mask for men.

Number seven on the list is the difficulty in falling asleep with this pressurized air. It is just very hard to get used to.

Eighth is the dry mouth. The tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth.

Ninth is the removal of the mask during the night without knowing that you did it. The patient wakes up with the mask on the floor and may have been without it for hours.

And now number ten - the noise from the CPAP machine and the air leaks around the mask. This irritates both the patient and the bed partner. Some bed partners lose as much as 1-2 hours of sleep each night because of this issue resulting in a sleep disorder for them as well.

These are the top 10 listed by Mayo Clinic but there are still big problems. Cleaning the mask and hose is one of those big problems. Studies have shown that after cleaning the machine, hose, and mask as prescribed by the supplier, there is still a biofilm on the inside of the hose and mask. Fungus and staph have been cultured from the surfaces of “cleaned” hoses and masks! Of course, this is dangerous since pressurized air can force these into the airway. This biofilm cannot be removed by merely rinsing with a solution of any kind; it has to be removed physically which is difficult with a corrugated hose that is several feet long!

There is a comfortable alternative to the CPAP with NO strap marks. Oral devices placed by a qualified dentist trained in oral device therapy have been used effectively for decades to eliminate or reduce OSA. Some CPAP users still feel tired during the day or wake up unrefreshed. This is because CPAP may cause a lot of sleep disruption that the oral appliance doesn’t cause. Each disruption resets the sleep cycle and the patient may never get into REM sleep.  Breathing with a CPAP is unnatural while breathing with an oral appliance is natural.

If you are a camper, backpacker, hunter, etc. and are having trouble finding a way to keep your CPAP going during the night, you should look into an oral device as the possible solution to the problem. One bad night’s sleep can ruin a camping or hunting trip.

Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help people live free with no limits!  He is the only dentist in the Inland Empire that is both a Diplomate in the American Sleep and Breathing Academy and a Qualified Dentist in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.  His office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco.  The website for more information is and the office phone is (844) 847-6673.  Schedule an appointment for a free consultation today!

     Sleeping — the most important part of your 24-hour day. It helps restore and maintain our body’s immune, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems. It also helps to maintain mental health including performance at our daily tasks, our mood, our memory, and our sexual health. If you live to be 90 years old, you should have spent 30 years asleep. That’s the way God made you.  Over-stimulating daily activities, less-than-great lifestyle choices, work deadlines, as well as iphone and iPad technology make it much harder to get the eight hours we need. And there are many medical conditions that also make it much harder to get those eight hours.

What is the most common medical condition? Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

     OSA is a condition in which there are repeated episodes of partial or total blockage of the airway each lasting for 10 seconds or longer — sometimes 100 seconds. This causes the oxygen level in the blood to drop. This, in turn, causes a person to awaken subconsciously so breathing can start up again. These interruptions in breathing, oxygen levels, and sleep have a huge negative effect on the quality and quantity of sleep. And they sometimes occur hundreds of times during the night, and the patient has no idea that this is happening while they think they are sleeping.
     What are the most common characteristics of a person with OSA? Snoring and teeth clenching and grinding, and daytime tiredness. The clenching and grinding make those with OSA more likely to have cracked teeth, headaches, and jaw pain (TMJ dysfunction). Similarly, those who suffer from OSA are more likely to be depressed and stressed, which can lead to irritability.
     And while snoring doesn’t usually seem to a big deal, it leads to serious health issues — stroke, heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, car/truck accidents, obesity, panic attacks, PTSD, depression, and poor work performance.

So how does OSA affect one’s sex life?

     OSA has been shown to be the cause of a loss of libido in women, and it has been shown to be the cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. Testosterone is usually produced in correct quantities and therefore, sexual health is maintained. Lack of oxygen in the blood reduces the amount of nitric acid in the blood. Nitric acid is a vasodilator and therefore lack of this in the blood can result in ED. With OSA, hormonal levels can drop causing sexual dysfunction. Studies have found that lack of sleep makes one focus on self’s needs rather than other’s needs. Then the relationship suffers.

What can one do?

     A sleep study, either a polysomnogram (PSG) in a sleep lab or a home sleep test (HST) in one’s own home, is the way to determine whether or not the problem is OSA or not. Treatment is dependent upon that diagnosis. The treatment may be very simple — a change of lifestyle such as diet swaps, weight loss, avoiding smoking and alcohol as well as adjusting your sleeping position off the back. Or treatment may be more complicated. A mask with an air blower (CPAP) or an oral appliance may also be prescribed. A last line of treatment, surgery, may be prescribed. This may involve removal of tonsils and adenoids.

So, what’s the bottom line?

In a lifetime of 90 years, we should sleep for about 30 years, so it’s important. If you don’t get good, restful sleep and you snore, I suggest that you see a sleep doctor or dentist qualified in treating OSA at your earliest convenience… Your life depends on it!

Link to original article in the CDA Press here.

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February 27, 2017
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     Snoring is more than just loud noise—it is a warning sign of a bigger problem that has serious consequences.  Pain is more than just something to get rid of; it is a warning sign of something more serious.  Pain may be from a cut that may become infected—it may be from a tooth that has an abscess—it may be from your bite that is out of balance from the left side to the right side.  But pain always indicates that there is something wrong that needs your attention.  And the attention you need it is not to cover up the pain but to find the cause of the pain and get rid of that cause.

     Snoring is the same.  It’s a warning sign of a serious, life-threatening problem.  Many people who snore just go on the internet to find a quick, cheap way to stop the snoring instead of finding someone who can help them find out what is actually wrong—what is causing the snoring—so they can fix the cause!

     Snoring in children is very serious!  It usually is a warning sign that the airway is collapsing during sleep in the child.  This may be from adenoids that are too large or it may be from tonsils that are too large.  But it is imperative that the parent find out why the child snores and correct it because, among other serious side effects, it can lead to a decrease in the amount of human growth hormone (HGH) that the developing child gets.  This is a very serious situation.  If someone just says that the child will grow out of it later in life, they just do not know that this loss of HGH in childhood is not recoverable—the effects are lifelong.

     Likewise, snoring in adults is serious!  It has been show to lead to cancer, strokes, and heart disease.  It has also been linked to diabetes, ED, and even death.  Some people think they just have a big tongue, especially if there are scallop marks on the sides of the tongue.  One can look in the mirror and see if their tongue has those marks.  The tongue just seems to be too big to fit between the teeth and rests on top of the lower teeth.  But many health professionals never suspect that the jaw may be too small for the tongue—which is usually the case.  And if the jaw if too small, the treatment will be different depending on the age of the person.  Children, adolescents, and adults have to be treated differently.

     So snoring is a serious medical condition that requires that you find a health professional trained specifically in this area it you are going to have it successfully treated.  Only then can you avoid the serious health consequences mentioned above.  Who wants to end up with a stroke that causes you to be unable to walk or talk for the rest of your life?  Especially when it can be easily and successfully prevented with proper treatment.

     Many people will go to the internet to find that quick, inexpensive way to stop the snoring and they think the problem is solved if there is no more nighttime noise.  They use devices like ZQuiet, GMSS, SnoreRx, VitalSleep, Snore Ex, Snore Eliminator, ProSnore, Zyppah (happy z spelled backwards), Snore Guard, etc.  A new one comes out every month; there are even ads for pillows and beds that will solve the problem.  But do they solve the problem?  Have they stopped the cause of the problem?  Are you willing to risk it?  That’s the real question!  It’s kind of like removing a nail from a flat tire and thinking that the nail is the problem when the real problem is the hole in the tire!!

     The beginning step a wise person should take it to have a trained health professional find the cause of the problem and then let them help you to eliminate that cause.  Sleeping in separate rooms or wearing ear plugs or getting a divorce is like removing the nail—the problem is not solved since the cause has not been eliminated.  Serious health consequences still exist.

          Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help patients stop their snoring and LIVE FREE WITH NO LIMITS!  His office is at 114 W. Neider Ave. in Coeur d’Alene, near Costco.  The website for more information is and the office phone is 1-844-84SNORE.  SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!