Could a Sleep Disorder be Affecting Your Child?

By December 23, 2016August 12th, 2018Blog, Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is a term that encompasses several sleep breathing disorders, including snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Most people do not realize that these disorders occur in children as well as adults. Researchers believe that the significant increase in OSA among children is due to the epidemic of childhood obesity. Because sleep disorders usually have significant negative impacts on children’s lives, every effort should be made to detect and treat these conditions. At 7 Day Dental, our specialists have expertise in recognizing and treating sleep apnea.

Oral health professionals, such as dentists, can often identify children who are suffering from some form of sleep disordered breathing. There may be physical markers such as obesity, frequent mouth breathing and dark venous pooling under the eyes. Other indications include excess fidgeting and difficulty following directions. It is essential that parents become aware of the symptoms and report them to their dentist or other health professional.


Parents’ Role Crucial to Identifying Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Sleep disordered breathingParents can greatly aid the identification of sleep disorders by observing their children sleeping. It may be helpful to record a video of the child sleeping. The two most common symptoms are snoring and significant body movements throughout the night. Habitual snoring, defined as snoring three or more times per week, has been associated with hyperactive behavior in children as young as 3, as well as poor academic performance. Sleep fragmentation or disruption caused by snoring appears to play a role in causing neurocognitive dysfunctions and impaired daytime performance.

One of the key tools in detecting SDB is a questionnaire for parents/caregivers. Here are the key questions:

  1. Have you seen your child mouth breathe, snore, or stop breathing during the night?
  2. If your child snores, would you say he/she snores fairly loudly?
  3. Does your child grind his/her teeth while sleeping?
  4. Does your child move around a lot while sleeping?
  5. Does your child often wake up feeling tired or groggy?
  6. Is it frequently difficult to arouse your child from sleep?
  7. Does your child complain of morning headaches or daytime sleepiness?
  8. Does your child have difficulty completing school assignments?
  9. Does your child’s teacher report that your child behaves badly in class?


If the caregiver answers yes to the first question and/or at least 2 of the other questions, the child should be evaluated for Sleep Disordered Breathing by a health professional. The health professional should review the child’s medical and dental history. A history of attention deficit disorder or ADHD is common in children with SDB. Another factor is a history of frequent ear infections, sore throats and tonsillitis. Sore throats and inflamed tonsils may be caused by excess mucous from allergic rhinitis, and treating the allergies can alleviate the problem.


Treatment and the Healthy Start System™

Our 7 Day Dental specialists are expert at diagnosing and successfully treating pediatric sleep disorders. They have special training in the revolutionary Healthy Start System, which treats both sleep apnea and misaligned teeth. Healthy Start appliances replace traditional braces and can actually guide the incoming permanent teeth to come in straight. At the same time, the appliances eliminate sleep disordered breathing, providing a lifetime of health benefits.

Click the link to learn more about the Healthy Start System™.