10 Signs of Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children

We all intuitively understand the inherent value of a good night’s sleep! If you’re only discussing your child’s sleep habits with your pediatrician and not their pediatric dentist, though, you are missing out on valuable insights to help your child sleep and grow optimally. Airway-centric pediatric dentists, like those at Great Beginnings Pediatric Dentistry, have advanced training in recognizing Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) in children. They can help your child breathe better, so they can sleep better.

Understanding SDB

Quality Sleep Begins with Quality Breathing

Your child’s ability to get restorative sleep depends in large part upon their ability to breathe through their nose with their lips sealed. Stated simply, nasal breathing is quality breathing! When a child has difficulty with nasal breathing, they have what is known as Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). The good news is that an airway dentist can help caregivers recognize SDB and offer many non-invasive solutions to correct it. Early intervention provides the best outcomes, so recognizing 10 common signs of SDB is the first step toward a better’s night sleep.

girl sleeps with mouth open showing one of 10 signs of sleep disordered breathing

10 Signs of Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children

  1. Snoring
  2. Grinding Teeth
  3. Bedwetting Beyond 3 Years of Age
  4. Dark Eye Circles
  5. Frequent Ear Infections
  6. Tossing & Turning in Sleep
  7. Waking Tired and/or “Cranky Regularly
  8. Sleeping in Odd Positions
  9. Waking Frequently Throughout the Night
  10. Waking with Cracked, Dry Lips Regularly

Of course, any of the symptoms listed above can have other causes, but several together that occur regularly should prompt a conversation with your an airway-focused pediatric dentist.

Physical Changes When SDB is Left Untreated

Many caregivers are mistakenly led to believe that their child will simply outgrow SDB. The airway centric pediatric dentists at Great Beginnings Pediatric Dentistry stress that when left untreated, SDB can leave lasting changes to your child’s face shape, as well as their tooth and jaw development, including the following:

  • Elongated face shape
  • Crowded upper teeth
  • Underdeveloped bottom jaw (recessed chin)
  • More cavities

These physical changes present more than undesirable cosmetic realities. They can lead to a cycle of airway obstruction and behavioral changes as well.

Behavioral Symptoms of Untreated SDB

If the above 10 signs of sleep disordered breathing in children don’t resonate with you immediately, perhaps some of these behavioral observations will. SDB also often shows itself during daytime behaviors in children. For instance, children suffering from
SDB often struggle with

picky eating can indicate airway obstruction and sleep disordered breathing in children
  • Picky Eating
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to Focus/Pay Attention at School

In order to understand how these behavioral symptoms of SDB in children come about, read out blog entry 5 Major Benefits of Nasal Breathing. In short, how your child breathes impacts which part of their nervous system gets activated during sleep. Nasal breathing encourages a more restful sleep for better behavior the following day. Ongoing research now examines if some children diagnosed with ADHD really are suffering with SDB instead!

SDB Treatments are Available

If you see your child in these 10 signs of sleep disordered breathing in children, contact an airway centric pediatric dentist, like those at Great Beginnings Pediatric Dentistry for early intervention and the best outcomes. Non-invasive treatments are available to help correct your child’s bite and tongue posture to set them on the path of healthy breathing and healthy sleep. Treatments depend upon the child’s age, and options include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Laser tongue tie and/or lip tie release
  • Myofunctional therapy
  • Chiropractic work
  • Lactation consultation and coaching
  • Occupational and/or physical therapy

Airway Centric Pediatric Dentists at Great Beginnings Pediatric Dentistry

Drs. Rachel Rosen and Laura Adelman specialize in airway dentistry for children near Cleveland, Ohio. They offer laser surgery for tongue ties and lips ties for infant and children in their Twinsburg, Ohio pediatric dental office. They are accepting new patients. Call (330) 425-1885 to schedule today.

This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not to be used as medical advice. Only a thorough evaluation by a certified professional can diagnose your child with SDB.

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