Snoring is a condition that afflicts many people, males more than females and appears to get worse with age (Block et al, 1979). The incidence has been reported to range from 10 – 45 percent in adult populations (Andersson and Brattstrom, 1991; Wagner and Price, 1987; Rice and Persky, 1986). Fujita et al (1981) claimed, that the majority of people over the age of 65 years snore.
Habitual snoring can lead to serious emotional tension between sleeping partners, as well as to the social ostracism of the snorer. The severity of snoring may progressively increased and can lead to obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), systemic hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias and secondary polyeythaemia (Rice and Persky, 1986).
The aetiology of snoring is multifactorial. The following having been identified as contributory factors:
Loss of tonicity, particularly with age of the tissues of the oropharynx.
Compromisation of the upper respiratory tract due to anatomic abnormalities, trauma or allergic conditions.
Excess body weight.
Sleeping on the back.
Sleeping with mouth open.
Excessive intake of alcohol prior to sleep.
Ingestion of large meals shortly prior to sleep.
Factors 1 to 6 can produce partial collapse or occlusion of the oropharyngeal airway while sleeping. In addition, a distended abdomen due to excess body weight or a full stomach exerts pressure on the diaphragm. This reduces the efficiency of the lungs and can lead to laboured breathing. Individually or synergistically the above factors may induce turbulent airflow past the soft pallet, uvula, the posterior region of the tongue and the posterior facial pillars. The resultant vibration of the tissues, particularly during inspiration with an open mouth, produces the audible sound perceived as snoring.
Due to the multifactorial aetiology, Lipman (1990) advocates a comprehensive approach, including a sleep study for the treatment of most snorers. Accordingly, the treatment of choice my range from lifestyle changes to mechanical, medicinal or surgical intervention (Lipman, 1990), Campion (1985) however reported a high rate of success by simply preventing snorers from mouth breathing, using custom fitted vestibular mouth shields.
The aim of this study was to evaluate efficiency of an antisnoring oral vestibular shield that could be fitted to subjects at chair side.