If you are a parent, you know the importance of quality sleep for your children. Quality and duration of sleep influences their development, immune system, behavior and much more. What you may not know, however, is that your child’s poor sleep habits could be a result of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. While sleep apnea is most often found in adults, it can also occur in children. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea and finding a qualified dentist who can treat your child can help you avoid several concerning threats to their overall health and quality of life.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is characterized by shallow breathing or frequent pauses in breathing during nighttime sleep. It occurs when the airway becomes blocked either by the tongue, large tonsils or the collapse of soft tissues in the back of the throat. Sleep apnea can also result when the brain isn’t sending the proper signals to keep you breathing while you sleep. Regardless of why it occurs, untreated sleep apnea can be dangerous in both children and adults.
Sleep Apnea in Children
While only 2 to 4 % of children are diagnosed with sleep apnea, it can occur. When it does, it typically presents itself in kids between the ages of 2 and 8 years old. Sleep apnea is concerning in children for several different reasons. The most obvious is restless sleep or poor quality sleep at a time when they are developing physically and mentally. This can contribute to slower developmental milestones, excessive fatigue during the day, behavioral problems and even failure to thrive in severe cases. – all due to a lack of quality sleep. Sleep apnea is most common in children between 2-8 years old.
How can you tell if your child may have sleep apnea? Here are some common warning signs:
- Loud or frequent snoring
- Frequent night waking
- Mouth breathing
- Enlarged tonsils
- Excessive sweating at night
- Headache in the morning
How a Sleep Apnea Dentist Can Help
Though it may seem surprising, your dentist may be the most likely to detect sleep apnea in your child. At Gainesville Dental Group, we have qualified and highly experienced dentists who are trained to diagnose and treat sleep apnea at all stages of life. There are specific clues in the mouth that can help reveal a sleep apnea disorder. If confirmed, your child may qualify for oral appliance therapy to properly open the airways during sleep and prevent sleep apnea episodes. Give your child the quality of sleep he or she needs. Call Gainesville Dental Group today!
Posted on behalf of Gainesville Dental Group