causes snoring

What Causes Snoring?

What Causes Snoring? Snoring is a common occurrence in many Raleigh bedrooms.  The sound is made by the vibrations of a person’s upper airway – in the back of the throat. Dependent on the cause, snoring can be temporary or something that’s heard on a nightly basis. Some of the reasons for what causes snoring are preventable, while others are out of our control.

  • Relaxed Muscles

When we first fall asleep, most of us breathe through our nose.  If our nostrils can’t bring in enough air, our body will compensate by opening the mouth to allow more air to come in. This means that the muscles in the back of the throat become relaxed and begin to vibrate when we breathe, resulting in a snoring sound.

  • Deviated Septum

The septum is the cartilage that splits our nose vertically. It allows us to breathe equally out of both our nostrils. When the septum is deviated, it doesn’t run down the exact middle of the nose. The causes the flow of air in each nostril to be different.  It some cases the septum is completely off the side, preventing you from being able to breathe through one nostril.

If you can’t take in enough air through your nose while you sleep, as mentioned before, your mouth will open, which can lead to snoring.

A deviated septum is a condition that can only be fixed with surgery.

  • Swollen or Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids

When our tonsils and adenoids are fighting off infection, they become swollen.  This limits the amount of air that is passed through the airway, which can lead to what causes snoring.

  • Enlarged Turbinates

Turbinates are another anatomical component found within the nose. They help prevent dirt from entering our lungs. They also prevent air from rushing in too fast. If the turbinates become swollen due to allergies, infections, or other health problems that can lead to what causes snoring.

  • Consumption of Alcohol

A temporary cause for snoring is the consumption of alcohol.  Alcohol relaxes the nervous system and the muscles in the body, including the ones in the back of the throat.

  • Genetics

Ahh…genetics.  The lovely (sometimes not so lovely) factor that we can’t control. Snoring can simply run in the family, making it hard to do anything about.

  • Obesity

Obesity creates more fatty tissue in the back of the neck and throat. This causes the airway to be compressed by the extra weight, making it hard to be able to take in enough air. In an obese person, snoring is worsened when they are laying flat on their back. During this time, the weight of the throat muscles is pushing down on the airway, blocking enough air from coming through.

  • Ageing

As we age our muscles become more relaxed allowing for vibration when we breathe at night.

Treatments for Snoring

The great news is that your dentist can help prevent what causes snoring. If you or a loved one struggle with this troublesome habit, you give Dr. Tarun Agarwal of Raleigh Dental Arts a call. We’re your trusted sleep dentistry and family dentist in Raleigh, NC.


Tarun Agarwal

Dr. Tarun Agarwal, DDS is considered one of the top dentists in the country. He is a recognized speaker, author, and dental leader. He has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and News 14 Carolina. Dr. Agarwal has been awarded '40 under 40' Business Leaders by the Triangle Business Journal. He is regularly invited to teach other dentists around the world and recently built a training center within the practice dedicated to sharing his expertise. Most importantly he is a loving husband and dedicated father of three wonderful children. His biggest accolade was being voted 'Best Dad in the World' by 2 of his 3 kids.