Dr. Nammy Patel, the founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, talks with John Maher about holistic approaches to treating sleep apnea, and she explains how the right treatment can help patients avoid using a CPAP machine for the rest of their lives.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health, and author of the best-selling book, Age with Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today, our topic is how to avoid a CPAP for life. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi, John.

What Is a CPAP Machine?

John: Dr. Nammy, what is a CPAP or C-P-A-P?

Dr. Nammy: A CPAP is a machine. It’s called a continuous positive airway pressure. Essentially, there is a lot of force pushing pressure, an air, through your nose so that you can get oxygen.

What Does a CPAP Machine Feel Like?

John: Okay. And what does that feel like when you’re wearing one of these? It’s like a mask that you wear over your face and with straps behind your head right in, and has sort of hoses going to it, some sort of machine. What does that feel like when you have to wear one of those?

Dr. Nammy: One of these things feel very alien-like actually, and a lot of that pressure, it’s uncomfortable to sleep with because you can’t really twist and turn as much. Also, the pressure is so significant that it really dries the nose out and doesn’t really humidify the air like we would like it to. So it’s a very uncomfortable experience. Patients constantly tell me that they would do anything to get off of that machine.

How Do CPAP Machines Affect Your Health?

John: And what sort of health problems can having a CPAP machine create with your teeth and your gums and your mouth?

Dr. Nammy: The biggest concern I have with a CPAP machine is that it’s going over your nose, and majority of the people have their nose clogged up so they’re actually breathing through the mouth, so the CPAP machine doesn’t even work. So it’s useless, and the patients are still coming back saying, “I don’t sleep well. I’m not rested. I have a CPAP.” It’s made a difference, but then it plateaus off. You don’t get that dream sleep that they’re really wanting and their bodies really needing. Otherwise, their entire body is stressed out all the time. They actually come back saying, “I don’t feel really good.” And what it does to their teeth is it dries the mouth out, causing gum disease. And then patients end up chipping and breaking their teeth because they’re gasping for air so they’re putting a lot of pressure on their teeth trying to get more air. They’re waking up at night gasping for air. They’re really clenching down on those teeth and grinding in order to get more airway.

Treating Sleep Apnea Without a CPAP Machine

John: The CPAP machine is usually prescribed to people who have sleep apnea problems. And so what are some alternatives to treating sleep apnea with a CPAP machine?

Dr. Nammy: The alternatives actually include myofunctional therapy, and also expanding and creating a bigger airway for patients and also better sinuses. That way the air can go through the nose, into the back the throat and into the lungs. And that system is from Vivos Therapeutics. It’s actually called DNA or a daytime-nighttime appliance. It’s a non-painful way in order to get your body to be in proper position. That way you can get great breathing at night.

Difference Between Breathing Through Your Nose and Mouth

Dr. Nammy: So John, if I could just ask you to just breathe through your nose first, take a breath.

John: Hm-hmm.

Dr. Nammy: And see how it feels. And then now breathe through the mouth, and see how that feels. Would you share with me how did it feel? What was the difference? What did you notate the difference between breathing through the nose and breathing through the mouth?

John: One thing that I noticed when I breathed through my mouth was that it felt like the air was colder.

Dr. Nammy: And dryer.

John: Yeah, it felt warmer and not as dry when I breathe through my nose.

Benefits of Breathing Through Your Nose

Dr. Nammy: Yes, exactly. And so that’s the key that we’re looking for. We’re wanting you to breathe through the nose. Your nose hair is actually really good for you. That actually warms the air. And what it’s actually doing is actually activating your body to create nitric oxide, and nitric oxide is scavengers that go through the body and clean up all the bad bugs, gut issues, is regulating those hormones properly and is really making a big difference in your overall health healing. We really want to get you off of a CPAP, really breathing through the nose and good quality breathing, and that deep REM sleep. That deep dreaming sleep is what we’re looking for.

Help for People With Sinus Problems

John: What are the ways that you can help people if they have problems with their sinuses, they have a runny nose all the time or the sinuses seemed to be clogged up all of the time so they’re not able to breathe well through their nose? What can you do to help them?

Dr. Nammy: The first thing I actually recommend patients is before you go to sleep, shower and clean out those sinuses, use some aromatherapy, clean that out. And there’s a product that I absolutely, absolutely, absolutely love. It’s called Xclear. So X as in x-ray, and then clear, which is made with xylitol, and what it does it cleans out the nose really well and also it keeps it moist. That dry that we’re talking about, it keeps it moist all the way to the back of the throat so that way you can get good breathing and it’s very comfortable.

Contact Green Dentistry Today

John: Okay. Well, that’s really great information, dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: My pleasure.

John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com, or call (415) 433-0119.