Ignoring sleep apnea or snoring can lead to the worsening of symptoms. That is why it is important for patients to make treatment a top priority in order to prevent further complications. And it is also why dentists should learn more about treating sleep apnea. 

Here are three medical complications that can be caused by untreated sleep apnea can have on your oral and overall health when treatment is ignored. 


The leading complication of untreated sleep apnea is heart attack or stroke. When the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, your brain tissue is deprived of oxygen and nutrients.  And within just a few minutes, brain cells begin to die.  

With this damage and stress to your blood vessels, it is believed that this is caused by blood pressure and oxygen changes from sleep apnea. In turn, it increases your risk of stroke.

Type 2 diabetes

Rates of diabetes are higher among people with sleep apnea. This is because diabetes and sleep apnea share common risk factors, including obesity and advancing age. More than half of people that are obese are considered to be at a high risk for developing sleep apnea, while further studies also suggest having sleep apnea increases the risk of developing diabetes. It appears to be quite the dilemma. 


The relationship between sleep and depression is complex, but it is clear. It has been shown that depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depression. 

For some people, depression symptoms occur before the onset of sleep complications, but for others sleep problems appear first.  Either way, sleep problems are associated with more severe depression.

Contact us today to learn more about the negative effects of untreated sleep apnea and how you as a dentist can help.