Tuesday, September 29, 1998 Published at 00:43 GMT 01:43 UK
Taking the roar out of snoring
A device fitted over the teeth could help snorers
Snorers and their partners can look forward to a good night's sleep, thanks to a device that reduces the noise of snoring by more than a half.
The device, developed by a team of doctors and dentists from Glasgow, fits easily over the teeth.
It holds the lower jaw in a forward positon, bringing the tongue forward and opening up the air passages in the throat and nose.
This can reduce snoring, or stop it altogether by preventing vibration of the soft tissues.
However, to be effective it must be worn every night.
A pilot study of 14 men, reported in the British Dental Journal, showed they and their partners slept better and woke up more refreshed if the device was worn.
Cheap and easy
Similar jaw repositioning devices are used to combat snoring, but the new device is cheaper and easier to use. It is also effective for a wider range of people.
Dr Mervyn Lyons, a restorative dentistry consultant at Glasgow Dental School who helped design the new equipment, said: "The potential impact of this device is enormous.
"A small number of people do not get on with this device, but those that do have benefited tremendously.
"It could also help people with simple disruptive problems who would not normally be offered anything else."
A survey, published on Monday, found that snoring was a serious cause of friction in many relationships. Partners often threaten to move to the spare room and admit to feelings of violence and aggression.
Snoring can be a simple problem or it may be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, a condition that causes the upper airway to be blocked repeatedly during the night.
The new device is custom-made and could become an integral part of the treatment for snorers, regardless of the cause of their condition.
Snorers whose condition is particularly severe can be treated through surgery or by a technique known as continuous positive airways pressure (CPAP), in which a pump is used to force air into the airways.
However, CPAP equipment can be noisy, and the use of pressurised air tends to dry out the throat, nose and eyes.
Snorers are usually advised to lose weight and avoid alcohol, sedatives and tobacco.