Diseases & Conditions

Sleep apnea may lead to weaker bones and teeth

Research we're watching

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
  • Reviewed by Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor

Photo of a woman with sleep apnea, wearing a cpac machine.

People with sleep apnea — meaning they briefly and repeatedly stop breathing while sleeping — are more likely to have low bone density, a small new analysis suggests.

The study, published online Nov. 11, 2022, by The Journal of Craniomandibular and Sleep Practice, used a type of imaging called cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) to measure bone density in the head and neck of 38 adults undergoing orthodontic treatment, half of whom had sleep apnea. The researchers found that participants with apnea had significantly lower bone density in the head and neck than those who didn't have the condition.

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About the Author

photo of Maureen Salamon

Maureen Salamon, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Maureen Salamon is executive editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later covered health and medicine for a wide variety of websites, magazines, and hospitals. Her work has … See Full Bio
View all posts by Maureen Salamon

About the Reviewer

photo of Toni Golen, MD

Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor

Dr. Toni Golen is a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, practicing in Boston. Dr. Golen completed her residency training at George Washington University Medical Center in 1995, and is an associate professor at Harvard Medical … See Full Bio
View all posts by Toni Golen, MD

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