Happy Chompers Pediatric Dentistry

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zzz . . . How Sleep-Disordered Breathing Can Affect Your Child

AdobeStock 145733409 1614357594 45308 300x200 1While you’re at work, you get yet another call from your child’s teacher at school. They’ve been struggling to pay attention and focus, and they are irritable with other kids and with you on a regular basis. As a concerned parent, you want to find out what the underlying issue is, but have you ever considered that the quality of their sleep could be contributing to the problem?

Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a condition where a child’s breathing is interrupted or obstructed while they are sleeping. The brain causes them to wake up enough to resume breathing. This can occur up to hundreds of times each night, keeping your child from achieving deep sleep. Read on to learn more about this condition and what can be done to help your child rest more peacefully.

Symptoms of Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Often SDB is the result of the soft tissues in the neck or throat that have relaxed and stopped air from flowing easily. But how can you tell whether your child is struggling with this condition? Signs of SDB include the following:

  • Loud snoring.
  • Moodiness and irritability.
  • Obesity.
  • Mouth breathing.
  • Bedwetting.
  • Inability to focus.
  • Slow growth or development.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk to your pediatrician or pediatric dentist in Katy. They can refer your child to a ear, nose, and throat doctor to see if SDB is a root cause.

Why Sleep-Disordered Breathing Is Important to Treat

In addition to preventing your child from getting the rest that their mind and body needs, SDB can have a serious impact on your child’s ability to grow and thrive. For example, when they experience a lapse in breathing, their blood pressure spikes and stay elevated. In fact, sometimes SDB can elevate blood pressure even while your child is awake, which increases their risk of developing heart disease and many other health issues.

SDB has also been linked to insulin resistance and the development of diabetes, and it causes the body to suppress growth hormones. As a result, if your child has SDB, they may be falling behind in their developmental and growth milestones.

Risk Factors for Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Your child may be at increased risk of SDB if they have any of the following:

  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which are located just behind the nose.
  • Overweight or obesity.
  • Cerebral palsy or another neuromuscular condition.
  • Abnormal lower jaw or tongue.

Treating Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Once SDB has been diagnosed, treatment may be as simple as dealing with an unresolved tongue-tie or taking advantage of others treatments like nasal hygiene, breathing techniques, or myofunctional therapy. For more severe cases, removing your child’s tonsils or adenoids may be necessary.

Ultimately, you would do anything to help your child in life, and by improving the quality of their sleep, you could open a huge new world of possibilities for them!

About the Author

For Dr. Adeel Khan, or Dr. A, putting a healthy, strong smile on each patient’s face is the ultimate goal. In addition to being certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, he is a member of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals. He is also affiliated with the Texas Children’s Hospital and the West Houston Medical Center. If you have questions about SDB, you can contact Dr. A at Happy Chompers Pediatric Dentistry on our website.