Is There A Gene for Crooked Teeth?

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It’s commonly accepted that your face will look like your parent’s faces. The same goes for your teeth. So if you have crooked teeth, then it’s assumed that your parents must have given you their genes for crooked teeth. However, In this blog post, I’m going to argue that there’s is no gene for crooked teeth.

Numerous sources and research papers have shown that even a few hundred years ago, most Americans did not need their wisdom teeth removed.  If you look at Native American skulls from these times, you’ll see that they had wide jaws and perfectly straight 32 teeth, and essentially no cavities. Dr. Weston Price found the same thing in the early to mid-1900s in all 5 continents, if people ate naturally, with no Western influences. George Catlin the American painter in his book, Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life, observed that Native Americans who had wide jaws and perfect teeth were healthier, stronger, and more resilient.

Both observed that as we start to adopt Western diets (soft/processed foods, refined sugars, canned foods, etc.), people’s teeth came in more crooked and crowded, with more narrow jaws. Bee Wilson, in her book, Consider the Fork, A History of How We Cook and Eat, cites anthropologic studies showing that only the rich in old England could afford newly invented metal cutlery. As a result, the aristocracy was found to have overbites (upper front teeth in front of the lower teeth) long before the poor peasants. The same was found in Chinese culture as well.

Yes, genes give you a blueprint for a range of possible genetic expressions, but it’s your environment while developing inside the womb, and what you’re exposed to after birth that determines how your mouth and teeth develop. This process is called epigenetics. So far, the known risk factors for crooked teeth (malocclusion) are prematurity, soft foods, bottle-feeding, thumb sucking, pacifier use, toxins, and nasal congestion. I’ve also speculated that perhaps even fluoride may have an influence as well.

Here are two examples of how your environment can be a significant factor in how crooked your teeth become. One of the residents that work with me recounts that her grandmother was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States at the age of 5. She was the firstborn and had 9 subsequent siblings, all born in the US.  She is the only one with straight teeth, as well as being the healthiest of all her siblings, even the youngest one. 

One of my operating room nurses grew up in St. Kitts, a small island in the Caribbean Sea.…

Ready for Awareness? World Narcolepsy Day 2020 is one month away!

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Less than one month until World Narcolepsy Day on Sept. 22, 2020, and I cannot wait for this second annual day dedicated to raising narcolepsy awareness on a global scale. World Narcolepsy Day 2020 is co-led by 26 non-profit patient advocacy organizations on six continents around the world. See all the orgs listed here.

Last year,  you raised narcolepsy awareness from Finland to Australia, Kenya to Argentina, Canada to Japan, and many places in between!

World Narcolepsy Day 2020

Of course, 2020 hasn’t been the year anyone expected, and in-person events are unlikely. However, in a year marked by isolation and calls for social justice —the importance of fostering community and celebrating our diverse international community is more important than ever.

Take Action Today! 

First things first, the two things I’d ask you to do today are:

  1. Order your official Project Sleep World Narcolepsy Day t-shirts by Sept. 5th to get your shirt by Sept. 22nd in the USA.
  2. Participate in our new CLOUD campaign sharing your message and taking photos for socials! (Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WorldNarcolepsyDay and tag: @project_sleep in posts so we can see and re-share.)


New Awareness Tools

In addition, Project Sleep has new infographics, Spanish-language resources and a Facebook profile frame. Soon we will unveil our schedule of (online) activities for September leading up to World Narcolepsy Day on Tuesday, Sept. 22nd. Check out our webpage and stay tuned for announcements!

Use New Narcolepsy Gifs on your FB and IG Stories!

We developed some awesome new narcolepsy gifs that you can use on your Instagram and Facebook stories. Fun example with Watson, Dr. Mignot’s dog with narcolepsy:


Thank you to the 26 organizations around the world co-leading this day alongside Project Sleep. Each will celebrate World Narcolepsy Day and we cannot wait to cheer for their efforts too!

A huge thank you to Project Sleep’s World Narcolepsy Day 2020 volunteer committee for developing and implementing our organization’s communications plan. This has been a “dream team” effort and I’m so so grateful to everyone who is giving precious time, energy and spoons to raise awareness. I truly believe that together, we are building a brighter future!

from Blog – Julie Flygare…

Is Sleep Apnea Something You Can Be Born With?

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If you find out that sleep apnea is stopping you from breathing properly in the middle of the night, your first question is naturally likely to be, “How did this start?” A sleep disorder can be linked to a mix of lifestyle factors, including obesity and overuse of alcohol. But is it possible for sleep apnea to be a condition that you were born with? As it turns out, your genetics may end up contributing to a sleep disorder – and that could have severe implications for your health in the long term.

What Kinds of Sleep Apnea are There?

When discussing sleep apnea, it should be noted that there are actually multiple forms of the disorder. The most common is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat become too relaxed, completely or partially closing the airway. Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, is a failure of the brain; at night, your muscles don’t receive the correct signals for controlling your breathing. In rare situations, you can suffer from both types of sleep apnea at the same time.

Is Sleep Apnea Hereditary?

In general, central sleep apnea isn’t considered a hereditary disease. While there are a few risk factors for the disorder that can be genetic – such as certain heart issues – most of the causes have no such component. There’s little to suggest that a parent could pass down central sleep apnea to their child.

Obstructive sleep apnea, on the other hand, is much more likely to be influenced by your genetics. For example, being overweight is one of the most well-known causes for the disorder, and it is well established that some people are more genetically disposed to obesity than others. Also, if you’re born with a particularly thick neck, narrow airway, small lower jaw, or unusually large tonsils, your risk for obstructive sleep apnea will be much higher. Overall, it is estimated that obstructive sleep apnea is about 40 percent linked to genetics, although there are naturally numerous other factors that are environmental or lifestyle-related instead.

Can Sleep Apnea Be Prevented?

Even if your genetics make you more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, you can take a few steps to lower your risk for the condition, such as:

  • Not drinking alcohol before bed
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising frequently to ensure a good night’s rest
  • Avoiding sleeping pills that could overrelax the throat muscles
  • Sleeping on your side (as sleeping on your back tends to worsen sleep apnea)

That said, even if you take precautions, you could still end up suffering from sleep …

Un-stuff Your Stuffy Nose For Better Sleep

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Whether or Not You Use CPAP

In this video I’m going to reveal why it’s so vitally important for you to breathe well through your nose if CPAP is going to work for you. Whether or not you have obstructive sleep apnea, good nasal breathing is vital for optimal health. 

In this 8 minute video, I will discuss:

  • How good nasal breathing can increase oxygen uptake by up to 20%
  • 5 ways to breathe better through your nose
  • How nasal surgery can increase CPAP use by up to 5 hours.

Check out my book, Totally CPAP: A Sleep Physician’s Guide to 

Restoring Your Sleep and Reclaiming Your Life

The post Un-stuff Your Stuffy Nose For Better Sleep appeared first on Doctor Steven Y. Park, MD | New York, NY | Integrative Solutions for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, and Snoring.

from Doctor Steven Y. Park, MD | New York, NY | Integrative Solutions for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, and SnoringBlog – Doctor Steven Y. Park, MD | New York, NY | Integrative Solutions for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, and Snoring…

Natural and Unnatural Ways to Decongest Your Nose

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If you search the Internet, there are literally hundreds of different suggestions on how to get rid of a stuffy nose. Some of the commonly seen options include natural, home remedies such as steam, garlic, onion, essential oils, saline, and ginger.

However, in this article, I’d like to focus on ways to decongest your stuffy nose by describing natural and unnatural ways of changing the status of your nasal autonomic nervous system. Nasal breathing is controlled by the two parts of the autonomic nervous system: sympathetic and parasympathetic.

The sympathetic nervous system controls your “fight or flight” response, causing constriction of your blood vessels. The parasympathetic nervous system activates your relaxation state, such as sleep, digestion, and sex. This is also what explains the nasal cycle, where one side opens up, alternating from side to side every few hours. This article will go over 5 unnatural and 7 natural ways of activating your nose’s sympathetic nervous system to improve your nasal breathing.

5 Unnatural Ways to Breathe Better Through Your Nose

  1. Nasal decongestants. Over-the-counter nasal decongestants such as phenylephrine or oxymetazoline are probably some of the most commonly used treatments for people with stuffy noses. These medications constrict blood vessels receptors inside your nose. The effects can be relatively quick and dramatic, but the effect lasts shorter and shorter the longer you use it. This is why it’s important not to use these products for more than 3-5 days. Many people become addicted to these sprays, leading to a condition called rhinitis medicamentosa. If you are addicted, you must see an ENT doctor who can help you wean you off this drug.
  2. Epinephrine (adrenaline). This is a hormone/neurotransmitter that’s normally produced by your adrenal gland during periods of intense stress. It’s one of many medications that constrict blood vessels as well as to stimulate your heart. This will raise your blood pressure and heart rate. It can also reverse severe allergic reactions such as seen with bee-stings or peanut allergies. Nasal decongestants are much weaker versions of epinephrine, with some people experiencing heart racing, palpitations, or a rise in blood pressure.
  3. Cocaine. This is a powerful decongestant as well as an anesthetic. Use in the nose over time an cause a hole in the septum, not to mention a bad drug addiction. Many famous people were cocaine addicts, including Sigmund Freud, Thomas Edison, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, and Witney Houston.
  4. Nasal dilator devices. These are devices or gadgets to spread your nostrils apart. The most well-known option is called Breathe Right strips, but there are also dozens of other options that go on the outside of

Sleep Talk: Episode 56 – Sleep in the Pandemic

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Episode 56: Sleep in the Pandemic

The current pandemic is affecting people around the world and having a significant impact on their sleep. We discuss changes in sleep seen during the pandemic and strategies people can use to help improve their sleep during this difficult time.

Dr Moira Junge (Health Psychologist) and Dr David Cunnington (Sleep Physician) host the monthly podcast, Sleep Talk – Talking all things sleep.

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Audio Timeline / Chapters:

  • 00:00 – 02:08 Introduction
  • 02:08 – 21:13 Theme – Sleep in the Pandemic
  • 21:13 – 22:42 Clinical Tip
  • 22:42 – 25:40 Pick of the Month
  • 25:40 – 27:07 What’s Coming Up?

Next episode: Sleep and Pain

Links mentioned in the podcast:


Regular hosts:

Dr Moira JungeDr Moira Junge is a health psychologist working in the sleep field, who has considerable experience working with people with sleeping difficulties in a multidisciplinary practice using a team-based approach. Moira is actively involved with the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) and a board member of the Sleep Health Foundation. She has presented numerous workshops for psychologists and is involved with Monash University with teaching and supervision commitments. She is one of the founders and clinic directors at Yarraville Health Group which was established in 1998. 

Connect with Moira on Twitter – @MoiraJunge

Dr David CunningtonDr David Cunnington is a sleep physician and director of Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre, and co-founder and contributor to SleepHub. David trained in sleep medicine both in Australia and in the United States, at Harvard Medical School, and is an International Sleep Medicine Specialist, Diplomate Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Registered Polysomnographic Technologist. David’s clinical practice covers all areas of sleep medicine and he is actively involved in training health professionals in sleep.

Connect with David on Twitter – @DavidCunnington. David also regularly posts information on sleep to his Facebook page.

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Check our resources or take our Sleep Wellness Quiz for a free assessment of elements that may be keeping you from a …