Does your child breathe through his/her mouth? Have you heard them snoring?
Any activity like snoring, grinding or opening the mouth to breathe during sleep could be a sign of sleep breathing disorders. I urge you, parents, to speak to your dentists, family physicians or pediatricians if your children present any of these signs.
I always explain to my patients that if our brain does not get enough oxygen during sleep, it will cope by using different mechanisms to keep us alive! Snoring, grinding, clenching, mouth breathing, bedwetting, nightmares, cramps are all different ways of the brain to wake us up to breathe!
If these signs and symptoms are maintained and unresolved into adulthood, they most likely evolve to diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac problems, depression, ADHD, allergies, Alzheimer's diseases, and the list goes on and on. It is important to keep in mind that many of our children suffer from one or more of the conditions mentioned above or they are borderline to them. Unfortunately, when we see our children running and playing, we tend to think they are generally healthy and often times miss recognizing these symptoms. Missing that ‘something is wrong’ is not exclusive to children only though. We, adults, may be affected as well. We should ask ourselves how many times a week we find ourselves struggling to complete all of our daily tasks. The toll Sleep Disordered Breathing takes on the body may feel normal, but it is anything but.
In the past, it was believed that only middle-aged overweight males were the ones at risk to develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea, one of the many forms of Sleep Disordered Breathing. Today, we understand that there is much more to take into account. Studies have shown that 80% of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is related to soft tissues and bone structures. Swollen adenoids/tonsils, jaw position and sizes are the biggest reasons one develops Sleep Disordered Breathing.
When diagnosed at an early age, most cases can have a successful outcome. Oral appliances, diet and myofunctional therapy can significantly help the majority of cases. It is important to understand the needs to have multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment. Partnerships between dentists, physicians, ENTs, speech pathologists and many more will ensure the success of the treatment.
Dr. Inoue-Cheng DDS is part of the Red House Dental team. It is a Family Dentistry practice, in the heart of downtown Richmond Hill and is experienced in Sleep Medicine. They are happy to provide you with any assistance if you recognize any of these symptoms in your children, your spouse, your friends and families or yourself!