The State of Sleep and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Myths and Facts

Published 05/30/2023

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common chronic health condition that can create health and job-related risks for the 30 million people who have it. A visual report from CareQuest Institute examines how the integration of oral health care with primary care and sleep medicine can improve access to OSA care, reduce sleep disparities, and save the health care system billions of dollars.  

Sleep Apnea and Dental Care 

The report explains why dental professionals should be concerned about sleep health, and how they can play a collaborative role in improving sleep health in their communities. Dentists (and allied dental professionals), for example, are optimally positioned to screen patients for OSA, through identifying anatomical risk factors. Key findings in the report include:  

  • More than 1 in 10 adults have been diagnosed with OSA, but nearly 80% of adults who have OSA are undiagnosed.  
  • While OSA is more commonly diagnosed in men, compelling evidence suggests that OSA is underdiagnosed and undertreated in women.  
  • Sleep health is an equity issue: Black adults are more likely than white adults to experience sleep problems. Experiences of discrimination are linked to poor sleep and account for some racial differences in sleep quality. 
  • The estimated cost burden of undiagnosed OSA for adults in the US in 2015 was nearly $150 billion. 

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