Prevalence and risks of habitual snoring and obstructive sleep apnea symptoms in adult dental patients

Thikriat S. Al-Jewair, Mohammed A. Nazir, Naif N. Al-Masoud, Nasser D. Alqahtani


Objectives: To determine the prevalence of habitual snoring and risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among dental patients and investigate factors associated with high-risk OSA.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed at the Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, between October and December 2014. A total of 200 consecutive female and male dental patients were included in this study. Subjective and objective assessments were carried out. Habitual snoring and risk of OSA were assessed using the Arabic version of the Berlin questionnaire. Two trained investigators carried out the objective measurements of anthropometric data, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, pulse rate, and clinical examination of upper-airway, and dental occlusion. 

Results: Habitual snoring was present in 18.2% of the females and 81.8% of the males (less than 0.05). Breathing pauses during sleep of more than once a week occurred in 9% (n=17) of the sample. Of the males, 78.3% were at high risk of OSA compared with 21.7% of the females. Multivariate analysis for risk of OSA revealed that obese patients were almost 10 times more likely to report OSA symptoms than their non-obese counterparts (odds ratio: 9.9, 95% confidence intervals: 4.4-22.1). Tongue indentations, tonsil size, and a high Epworth Sleepiness Scale score were also independent risks of OSA.

Conclusion: Tongue indentations and tonsil grades III and IV were significantly associated with risk of OSA. This validates the important role of dentists in the recognition of the signs and symptoms of OSA. 


Saudi Med J 2016; Vol. 37 (2): 183-190

doi: 10.15537/smj.2016.2.12852

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