SLEEP-RELATED BREATHING DISORDERS IN CHILDREN
Sleep disorders in children and adolescents are common; even infants may have sleep disorders. Studies have shown that poor sleep quality and/or quantity in children are associated with a host of problems, including academic, behavioral, developmental and social difficulties, weight abnormalities, and other health problems.
Parents and caregivers are invaluable in reporting these possible symptoms and signs.
KEY QUESTIONS MIGHT INCLUDE:
Does the child snore or make noises when sleeping?
Does he or she stop breathing for short periods during sleep?
How rested does the child seem upon wakening?
Has he or she experienced behavioral issues at home or school?
OTHER SIGNS TO LOOK FOR
Narrow, high vaulted roof of the mouth
Clenching and grinding (Tooth wear)
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
Tongue tie and/or lip tie
When these signs are apparent, the child can be referred to specialists, including oral myofunctional therapists, orthodontists, pediatric dentist, pediatricians and Ear, Nose, and Throat professionals. Oral appliances and surgical treatment are also an option. It is also imperative for oral health professionals to routinely screen for sleep-disordered breathing and other airway disorders. These screening protocols as well as support from parents and caregivers can preemptively remove developmental obstacles affecting the quality of a child’s life into his or her adult years.