Omar Abdo DDS MS PA

8 Factors That Increase the Risk of Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Every day we gain new information indicating the aftereffect of untreated sleep apnea. The list ranges from diabetes and heart issues to the connection with cancer and even behavioral issues in children.  This ongoing stream of data and research has provoked us to find a list of factors that increase the risk of sleep apnea, so that we are better able to manage some of those risks, when possible. Knowledge is power!

Before diving into the list, let’s review the definition of sleep apnea to ensure that we are all on the same page.  For the most part, there are three types of sleep apnea — central (happens in the brain), obstructive sleep apnea (most common), and mixed (both central and obstructive).  Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat collapse, causing the airway to close.

Now that we share a common definition for sleep apnea, let’s chat about the nasty risk factors to stay clear of to reduce the risk for obstructive sleep apnea.


This is a BIG one. Did you know that obese adults are seven times more likely to develop OSA than people of a normal weight range, (according to WebMD)? This is because excess weight creates additional mass tissue in the airway, which constricts the diameter of the airway opening.  Here’s a situation in which carrying around that extra spare tire may not be such a snappy idea.

Neck Circumference

Have you ever been envious of a world-class bodybuilder’s physique? If so, this next snippet of information may help you put your envy to rest.  Overly muscular individuals, commonly found in professional athletes, who may not necessarily be obese, have a much thicker neck circumference than the rest of us non-Hulk people. The thicker neck size works against the optimal airway opening circumference. This is similar to what happens in obese individuals, where the extra mass tissue located in the airway narrows the opening for air.

Bulging fact: There’s a higher risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea in men that have a neck circumference greater than 17 inches and women over 15 inches.


Even though this disease can attack every age group, including infants and children, it is more commonly found in older aged individuals. This is because as we age, we begin to lose tone and elasticity, including the soft tissue in our throats which makes it more likely for the airway to collapse.

Family History

When it comes to obstructive sleep apnea, family history can play a huge roll. Certain physical characteristics, such as a narrow jaw or a side profile indicating a lack of the correct chin to neck space ratio, may be indicators for an elevated risk for sleep apnea. In addition, if a family member has sleep apnea, you are also at a higher risk for being diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Alcohol Use

Whether you have sleep apnea or not, alcohol acts as a muscle relaxant and may lead to episodes of sleep apnea.  In those individuals that do have sleep apnea, alcohol makes the apneic events longer, worsening the severity of apnea throughout the night. Note to self: Booze and sleep apnea don’t mix well.


Sleep apnea discriminates. Whoa. Studies show that both sleep apnea risk and sleep apnea severity vary by race.  This may be due to anatomical differences in the airways of different ethnic groups and races.


Here’s another reason to quit while you’re ahead. Smokers are 2.5 times more likely to have sleep apnea, (2001 study). Smoking irritates airway tissues and causes swelling to occur, which ultimately restricts the opening of the airway. Ick!


Did you know that middle-aged men are twice as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea as women of the same age? The difference may be due again to anatomical differences, especially since many times men are bigger than women…well, sometimes. Please note that even though sleep apnea may be male favorable, it is also known to significantly impact women.

We hope the above information was helpful. All humor aside, sleep apnea is serious and it’s not going away. On the flip side, it’s growing at a rapid speed with help from the escalating obesity numbers in our country. As a life threatening sleep breathing disorder, it needs to be addressed and understood by everyone. If you or a loved one thinks you may have sleep apnea, please call us today for additional information.


Dr. Omar Abdo is a board certified prosthodontist located in Jupiter, Fl.  Prosthodontists are highly trained in state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for treating many diverse and complex dental conditions and restoring optimum function and esthetics. These include: crowns, bridges, complete and removable partial dentures, dental implants, TMD-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structures and/or teeth, snoring or sleep disorders and oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care.  Please call us today at (561) 745-5550 if you have questions about Sleep Apnea.




Do you have painful dentures?  Are you suffering with missing or failing teeth?  Maybe you are avoiding your favorite foods?  There IS a solution…


Implant Seminar Image


Please Join Us for a Free Seminar

TOPIC:  Dental Implants and Teeth in One Day

DATEWednesday, November 6, 2013

LOCATION:  DoubleTree Executive Meeting Center

ADDRESS:  4431 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

TIME:  3:00pm – 4:00pm (light refreshments and hors d’oeuvres)

All participants are entitled to a complimentary consultation inclusive of any necessary scans and xrays (a $695 value)

Call today to RSVP (561) 745-5550


Cosmetic Dentistry & Prosthodontics: 10 Helpful Facts in Helping You Choose a Specialist


Are some dentists better qualified to place your next crown, bridge or implant? Is there a field of dentistry that has a special understanding of porcelain veneers and cosmetic dentistry? The answer is yes. Although any General Dentist is permitted to provide these services, if you are looking for a professional that has had extensive training, and most likely, more experience, you may be looking for a Prosthodontist.

  1. Prosthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).
  2. Prosthodontists are dental specialists in the restoration and replacement of teeth.
  3. After completing four years of dental school, a Prostho receives three more years of specialized training in an American Dental Association (ADA) accredited graduate education program.
  4. One who is said to be “board certified” has completed an ADA approved residency (specialty) training program, usually at a university dental school and has “passed” both written and oral examinations. Such board certification is a basic standard for professional competence as a specialist.
  5. Not all Prosthos are board certified.
  6. Dental Law in Florida prohibits a dentist from using the word “specialist” if said doctor did not go through a formal residency program. Continuing Education does not count as a formal residency program.
  7. Fellowship of the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) is only awarded to certified members of the college. This is the highest possible recognition and credential in the dental specialty of prosthodontics and there is a small, elite group of 700 dentists worldwide that have achieved this status.
  8. There is no recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, implants or TMJ. These all fall within the field of expertise of a Prostho
  9. Dr. Omar Abdo is a board certified Prosthodontist and Fellow of the ACP
  10. Services falling under the expertise of Prostho include:
  • Aesthetic/cosmetic dentistry
  • Implant dentistry
  • Crowns and bridges
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Re-treatment of failing dentistry
  • Complete and partial denture

For more information on this specialty, click here.


Can You Really Skip Teeth Whitening and Braces with Porcelain Veneers?


You have seen them everywhere.  Formerly snaggle-toothed stars suddenly have perfectly aligned, gleaming white teeth all due to Porcelain Veneers.  Is it true?  Can they correct any and all dental defect?  This thin sliver of tooth colored material layered over your tooth can actually be used to address a wide array of problems, like:

  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Crooked or misshapen teeth
  • Misaligned teeth or gaps between teeth
  • Stained teeth

The caveat is choosing your dentist wisely. 

One might say there are good and bad veneers (see photo above).  The truth is that it is not the veneer, but rather the technique, which is important.  Common complaints of a procedure gone wrong include:

  • Bright white is not always right – When done correctly, your new teeth should complement your skin color and eye color. Teeth that or too white or those that have different colored top and bottom rows, make it easy to point out a faux smile.
  • Uneven Steven – Poorly installed veneers can cause an uneven bite.  Forget esthetics, this can lead to problems with chewing or worse, jaw problems. Your newly sheathed teeth should feel natural in your mouth and fit without effecting the bite or smile.
  • Chunky Chiclets – Your specialist needs to pay special attention to your natural tooth shape AND texture during the creation process.  Too smooth, too shiny and too white are all indicators of poor workmanship. 

Creating the perfect Porcelain Veneer is a very involved process that needs personalization to achieve a realistic-looking smile.   Your specialist needs to consider a list of factors to achieve the perfect smile, including each patient’s mouth structure, the patient’s face shape, lip fullness, as well as, the texture and size of the teeth.  Prosthodontists are highly trained in state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for treating many diverse and complex dental conditions and restoring optimum function and esthetics.  Choosing a Prosthodontist, like Dr. Omar Abdo to be the architect to your luminous, natural looking new smile will safeguard you from the pratfalls of poor installed veneers.  We welcome an opportunity to meet with you and discuss the smile of your dreams.

If Coconut Oil Can Do Everything, Can it Even Brush My Teeth for Me? Almost….


Lately, coconut oil is everywhere you turn.  Dr. Oz is saying it will help us lose weight, cure skin ailments and treat ulcers.  The Huffington Post boasts many uses; such as being an excellent skin moisturizer, leather shoe cleaner, sticker remover and insect repellent, to name a few.  The New York Times claims that, despite being a saturated fat, coconut oil is not a harmful fat and it just plain tastes good.  The benefits of coconut oil are seemingly endless.  However, one claim that piqued my interest was that coconut oil could combat tooth decay.

Back in 2012, researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland discovered that coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, similar to digestion, displayed some antibacterial properties.  Most importantly, the enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibited the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, a significant contributor of tooth decay.  The team of scientists tested the impact of coconut oil, vegetable oil and olive oil and found that only the coconut oil showed an ability to slow or stop the growth of most strains of Streptococcus.

Dr Damien Brady, along with his Masters student, Patricia Hughes, led the research at the Institute and believes that the breaking down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids, which are active and effective in destroying bacteria.  Researchers will next investigate how coconut oil interacts with Streptococcus bacteria at the molecular level.  Potentially, incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products will translate into less chemical additives in such products.  This is great news for those of us who are interested in a more organic way to keep our mouths clean.

This recent study provides positive news for denture wearers as well.  Additionally, it was reported that enzyme-modified coconut oil also attacks the yeast, Candida albicansCandida albicans causes thrush; an infection of the mucus membrane lining of mouth and tongue, which creates painful mouth sores.  Denture wearers are more susceptible to thrush than those sporting their natural teeth.

So, it looks like we all must continue to brush our teeth.  Brushing twice a day, flossing daily and biannual visits to your dentist for exams and a professional cleaning are the only proven methods of avoiding tooth decay.  However, perhaps we can look forward to more effective and organic oral hygiene products. Maybe we can also keep the mosquitoes away and burn fat just by brushing our teeth!!!

The Full PB Post Article on Oral Cancer

Speaking of oral cancers: Why everyone should listen to Michael Douglas and Jim Kelly

By Steve Dorfman – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Most of us go to the dentist to keep our pearly whites healthy and gleaming.

But, as we’ve been reminded from two recent high-profile cancer cases — those of actor Michael Douglas and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly — our mouths are vulnerable to more than cavities.

The good news, though, says West Palm Beach dentist Dr. Mihran Asinmaz: “Many cancers and pre-cancers of the oral cavity — including the lips, cheeks, teeth, jaw and oropharynx (throat) — can be found early, during routine screening exams by a dentist.”

Learning from Michael Douglas

Douglas, 67, of course, made worldwide headlines last month when he was quoted in the British newspaper The Guardian as saying the throat (or “oropharyngeal”) cancer he successfully battled in 2010-11 was caused by a certain form of the sexually transmitted virus human papillomavirus (HPV).

While many in the non-medical community were made uncomfortable by the discussion of HPV transmitted via oral sex causing oral cancer, Douglas’s revelation did engage the public in an effective and important way.

Consider: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that the 40 varieties of HPV make it the most widespread sexually transmitted infection. In fact, reports the CDC’s website: “HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. This is true even for people who only have sex with one person in their lifetime.”

And now cases similar to Douglas’ are being seen far more frequently.

Dr. Eric Genden, professor and chair of otolaryngology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, recently told CBS News, “There’s an epidemic of HPV-related throat cancers.”

Indeed, according to the National Cancer Institute, there are now more than 13,000 new HPV-related oral cancer cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. — with some 80 percent being men.

What’s more, that makes male HPV-related oral cancer more commonplace than HPV-related cervical cancer is now in women.

Jupiter prosthodontist Dr. Omar Abdo says he had a number of patients present with HPV-related oral cancer — including an 80-year-old woman whose complaints about throat and mouth discomfort were dismissed by both her primary physician and an ear, nose and throat specialist.

The octogenarian credits Abdo’s astute diagnosis with saving her life.

Kelly’s condition

As for Jim Kelly, 53, who starred at the University of Miami in the early 1980s and led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls (all defeats) in the early 1990s, he revealed in early June that he’d been diagnosed with squamous cell carinoma in his jaw.

This necessitated surgery on June 7 to remove a significant portion of the left side of his jaw. At the end of the month, he announced that his doctors believed all of the cancerous cells had been removed, and no subsequent radiation or chemotherapy would be required.

Kelly can consider himself fortunate that his carcinoma was of the squamous cell variety, and located in the jaw (as opposed to the neck or throat) because, as Dr. Michael Kaplan told ESPN on the day of Kelly’s surgery, it tends not to be a “bad actor” in terms of metastization.

Kelly, of course, will be rechecked by his oncologists for the next several years, but his prognosis is excellent.




Obesity Crisis May Be Fueling Big Jump in Sleep Apnea Cases

The widening American waistline may be feeding an epidemic of sleep apnea, potentially robbing millions of people of a good night’s rest, a new study suggests.
Study author Paul Peppard believes the findings show a big spike in sleep apnea cases over the past two decades — as much as 55 percent — and may translate to the entire United States.
“There are probably 4 million to 5 million people who are more likely to have sleep apnea due to the obesity epidemic,” estimated Peppard, an assistant professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s certainly an uncalculated cost of the obesity epidemic, an epidemic of its own.”
The researchers looked at adults aged 30 to 70 who were monitored as they slept. About 600 to 700 underwent sleep tests between 1988 and 1994, with some continuing to take part along with hundreds of new participants from 2007 to 2010.
The study considered the participants to have moderate-to-severe breathing problems if they had trouble breathing 15 or more times an hour while sleeping.
Sleep apnea is the main cause of breathing problems during sleep. People with the condition often have trouble staying in deep sleep because their throats close, blocking their airways and requiring them to partially awaken to start breathing properly. They don’t realize they’re waking up and may become very sleepy during the day.
Besides sleepiness, sleep apnea can contribute to heart and other health problems if untreated and increase the risk of work- and driving-related accidents, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The researchers extrapolated their findings to the entire United States and estimated that 10 percent of men aged 30 to 49 currently have symptoms of sleep apnea. The study estimates the number is 17 percent of men aged 50 to 70. For women, the estimate is 3 percent among those aged 30 to 49 and 9 percent among women aged 50 to 70.
The study estimates that these numbers have gone up by 14 percent to 55 percent from 1988-1994 to 2007-2010. Peppard estimated that 80 percent to 90 percent of the increase in symptoms is due to the growth in obesity.
The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable. One treatment, known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), is a machine that blows air into the throat to keep it open while people sleep. “It’s very effective, but some people don’t like to use it,” Peppard said.
There’s another option that will help in many cases, he said: Weight loss.
Joyce Walsleben, an associate professor of medicine at New York University who studies sleep problems, agreed. “Obesity has to be addressed and controlled,” said Walsleben. “That is a message for doctors and patients.”

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You want a healthy, bright smile, but you have been warned about the effects of coffee, alcohol and soda.

It is true; all soft drinks contain enamel-eroding acids. Iced-tea, once placed in a bottle or can, loses its bacteria-busting properties to flavor-enhancing organic acids that can erode your chompers, while your latte can stain your pearly whites and leave them sticky.  Booze, after metabolizing with your saliva, instantly turns into plaque.  Let’s face it, after a few cocktails what are the chances you will remember to brush your teeth?  By morning, simple brushing won’t do the trick.

How can you impede the decay?

1)  Use a straw and don’t swish – Bypass the teeth by sending the offending liquid through a straw to the back of the mouth.  Unless you are an oenophile, there is no point in swishing liquid through your teeth.  This compounds the effect of both sugars and acids.

2)   Use water as a mouthwash – Water makes the perfect rinse to clear sugars and acids after eating or drinking.

3)    Wait 20 minutes to brush – Brushing is recommended after every meal, but doing so after consuming an acidic food or beverage introduces more acid leaving enamel vulnerable to damage.  Let saliva take over and re-mineralize your teeth first.  Then it should be safe to brush.

Whereas the negative impact of these dubious delights cannot be eliminated, we do have some control in slowing them down.  However, nothing beats a proper dental routine of daily brushing and yes, DAILY flossing, along with bi-annual visits to your trusted dental care provider.

OMAR S. ABDO, DDS, MS, FACP  board certified prosthodontist



Sleep Apnea

Through our involvement with sleep apnea public awareness discussions, we’ve met various sleep apnea sufferers. After communicating the sleep health information, we have found that individual responses can be quite different. Some people appreciate and embrace the information. Others are overtaken by fear.

The panic-stricken group typically quickly identifies with many of the symptoms, such as weight gain, depression, high blood pressure, heart issues, and/or Type 2 Diabetes. They are shocked by the medical findings and reports, and in some cases, contemplate driving to a nearby emergency room! Their next thoughts revolve around life wills and funeral details. We wish we were joking. So, what do we say to this unnerving group?

“You’re actually very lucky,” is one of the first things we say. Knowing of the possibility that a sleep breathing disorder may exist is something to celebrate and not be fearful of or run away from. As medical reports indicate that approximately 90% of sleep apnea sufferers are undiagnosed in this country, knowing you may have the disorder means you’ve already beaten the high statistics. Most people keep trucking through life and have no clue they suffer from it. Many also don’t understand the impact of what it does to their bodies and overall health.

The next things we like to share are the testing and treatment options that are available. Dental appliances and CPAP machines can both be successful options for treatment. In some cases, surgery is also an option. Unfortunately, often times patients are not always presented with all of the treatment or screening options.

Testing and screening for sleep apnea can be done through an overnight stay at a sleep lab or at home by using a home-testing kit. The sleep lab test can be a more detailed view of sleep issues. However, sleeping in your own bed can be an overall more accurate observation of a normal night of sleep.

People ask if treatment is necessary when the sleep apnea diagnosis is evaluated as “mild.” Our simple answer: ABSOLUTELY. Even mild sleep apnea leaves people to feel tired throughout the day and can have a significant impact on the quality of people’s lives and their overall health. Unfortunately, we have heard of sleep technicians telling people they are okay to live with a diagnosis of mild to moderate sleep apnea. No one should be okay to live in an ongoing state of fogginess and sleepiness. Even after one night of treatment, a person can start to feel substantially better.

We hope this information provides encouragement to those who believe they may be suffering from sleep apnea. If you would like to take a quick, online preliminary screening for sleep apnea, please visit or call us immediately at 561-745-5550.

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Through the Eyes of a Child

Question: What do sleep disorders, craniofacial pain, child growth and development, chronic inflammation, academic and work performance, snoring, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease all have in common?

Answer: An AIRWAY Problem!

What if we could address a potential problem early in life rather than spend years and resources treating a much more serious problem later in life? Let’s take a look at the children in
our country. Many people realize that more than ever before, the current generation of children are facing health issues like obesity, diabetes, and learning challenges.
What parents also need to know is that correcting unhealthy airways in children minimizes the risk of obesity, poor growth development and behavioral issues like ADHD. Yes, we said obesity and ADHD. According to Dr. Stephen Sheldon, D.O., from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, (see, ADHD in children is highly linked to sleepiness and obstructive sleep apnea.
Recommended treatment for children ranges from early orthodontic to myofuctional (tongue posture) treatments that ease breathing passages, train proper muscle movements, and aid in the growth of the jaws. Taking care of obstructions to proper breathing, like swollen tonsils and adenoids, or removing physical restrictions to tongue movements, are also on the list.
How about adults? What would happen if we followed a child with a compromised airway through adulthood? The story would look something like this:
• Joe, a tired, sleepy child (whose airway is the size of a number two pencil) has problems focusing in school. His school performance suffers and he gets in trouble often.
• Diagnosed with ADHD, Joe is given medication and shuffles through middle school, while his body fights to adapt to a lower oxygen saturation level.
• Despite his parents’ push for good nutrition, Joe’s body and mind obsess over carb and sugar cravings, and obesity unwillingly develops.
• In high school Joe is diagnosed with depression, in addition to ADHD and obesity.
School attendance is poor and the risk of dropping out is much higher.
• In his twenties, and now an adult, Joe is diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. His weight gain continues, depression is increased, and Joe struggles keeping a job and a healthy relationship.
• By the age of 30 Joe’s shocked to be diagnosed with hypertension and high blood pressure. By Joe’s 35th birthday, he is at a huge risk for heart failure.
This story isn’t far-fetched. We’ve seen it happen and the outcome is fatal. What’s even more alarming is that the quality of life during Joe’s 30+ years is less than ideal. It’s one of fatigue, frustration, depression, anxiety, chronic inflammation, and a laundry list of other failing health issues. From an early age, Joe suffered from a significant disadvantage in life, stemming from the fact that his airway was the size of a number two pencil.
By working together with parents, dentists, and physicians to identify potential issues of poor airway health in children and adults, we are able to prevent serious health issues that unfold later in life. If you, a family member, or a loved one, express signs of fatigue or snoring, please contact us immediately to take the necessary next steps to achieve better overall health.
Breathing properly makes all of the difference in a person’s quality of life. In severe conditions, a compromised airway and untreated sleep apnea can be life threatening. Please call us today for more information.

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