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A new (silent) pandemic that started way before Covid-19

If you look at the jaws of the children of today you see a shocking pattern. Crooked teeth are a result of underdeveloped jaw bones.

In dental practice this has become normal. Our children today don’t develop the jaws that fit 32 human teeth.

In late adolescence we see it when wisdom teeth don’t fit. In late childhood we see it with crowded crooked teeth requiring braces.

What we are witnessing is one of the most important health trends of human history. When our jawbones don’t develop, our airways are less developed. The roof of the mouth is the floor of the nasal sinuses, and reduces the volume to breathe through.

That results in increased pressure in the airway, and can lead to obstructed breathing during sleep, or sleep apnea. We are currently in an epidemic of people.

How prevalent would you guess sleep apnea is in the world?

Here are the figures reported in the Lancet:

"Using AASM 2012 diagnostic criteria and AHI threshold values of five or more events per hour and 15 or more events per hour, we estimated that 936 million (95% CI 903–970) adults aged 30–69 years (men and women) have mild to severe obstructive sleep apnea and 425 million (399–450) adults aged 30–69 years have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea globally. The number of affected individuals was highest in China, followed by the USA, Brazil, and India.”

Over a billion people. ​Sleep apnea is now linked in the literature to heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, type-II diabetes, depression, anxiety, teeth grinding, and Alzheimer's disease among others.

We are in a pandemic of poor craniofacial development and it’s time to wake up.

(*text by Dr. Steven Lin)



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