Sleep Apnea and Behavior Issues in Children

Sleep Apnea and Behavior Issues in Children

If you think that sleep apnea is an adult issue, you may be surprised. While many children are increasingly being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it could very well end up being a misdiagnosis since the child won’t display the supposed symptoms. However, their behavior could be related to a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea.

According to a recent study, children who have sleep breathing disorders were 40 to 100 percent more likely to have behavioral problems that may mimic the symptoms of ADHD. If your child is experiencing these issues or has already been diagnosed with ADHD, it may be worth a second opinion to ensure that the diagnosis is correct. It could mean that your child may not actually have it, but instead could be a result of interrupted sleep. Your family dentist has treatments available for this and other SRBDs.

Does Your Child Suffer from an SRBD?

Sleep-related breathing disorders or SRBD are conditions that are characterized by interrupted breathing patterns while sleeping. For example, a child’s airway can become blocked by soft tissues located in the back of the throat and may partially close the windpipe. As air passes, these tissues vibrate and cause what is commonly known as snoring.

While sleeping on your back may be comfortable, it’s actually not a recommended sleep position. That’s because your lower jaw to slip back and therefore cause the tongue to push itself almost in front of the airway. This can be a common problem in overweight children since fatty tissue can be present in the soft palate.

If you believe that your child may have an SRBD, please consult this list when looking for the following:

  • Snoring
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Tossing and turning constantly
  • Bed wetting
  • Night panics

A Dental Solution for Sleep Apnea? Yes, There Is!

Whether it’s you or your child, it’s quite surprising to know that dentists have a way to treat sleep apnea or other types of SRBDs. For younger children still growing, dentists can apply what is known as a palatal expander. This gently widens the roof of your child’s mouth over time and will separate the bones that won’t permanently fuse together until they reach the puberty stage. While its purpose is to create space for crowded teeth, it has also proven to be effective in increasing airflow.

While visiting a dentist may be an unconventional solution to your child’s SRBD, it is important to exercise as many options as possible. If your child has an SRBD or may potentially have one, please contact us and schedule an appointment today.