My Child Snores & Breathes Heavily. What Does This Mean?
As parents, you want nothing more than healthy and vibrant children. If something is amiss and they’re not feeling up to par in their studies or interacting with peers, your child might be suffering from a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea can affect children as much as adults.
If your child snores loudly during the night on a consistent basis, you might want to have them checked out. Loud snoring and labored breathing while sleeping can be signs of sleep apnea. There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common form is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite attempts to breathe.
How Can I Tell If My Child Has Sleep Apnea?
Symptoms in addition to snoring can include:
- Restless sleeping and sleeping in unusual positions
- Pauses in breathing, snorts during sleep and gasping for breath
- Daytime fatigue and behavioral issues
- Increase in body weight, perhaps obesity, without dietary changes, due to lack of sleep.
The obesity connection is on the rise, especially when sleep study specialists track sleeping patterns. If weight loss can be encouraged for your child, it may cure sleep apnea in some cases.
Safe Treatments for Children’s Sleep Apnea
Dr. Huff can provide guidance if you have any concerns about your child’s sleeping habits. Surgery is not always needed to treat sleep apnea. As a parent, you’ll need to be aware that a sleep study may be needed to properly diagnose and treat your child.
There are several conventional treatment options for sleep apnea, including oral appliances, nasal steroids, and in some cases, even surgery can help. Simply stopping sleep apnea and its symptoms can be helped with weight loss, appliances, or other methods your dentist will outline during a consultation.
Can My Child Grow Out of Sleep Apnea?
The majority of children with sleep apnea have mild symptoms and may outgrow the disorder. It’s also possible that they’ve been misdiagnosed, and instead suffer from ADHD. If this is the case, it’s best they receive a proper sleep study so they can be treated right.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, as many as 10 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea. However, many cases of sleep apnea in children have been misdiagnosed as ADHD, as the two share several symptoms.
If you notice signs of sleep apnea in your child or suspect they may have a sleep disorder, you should discuss diagnostic options with a sleep specialist. Dr. Huff can use the prescription from your specialist to find a gentle solution for your child’s sleep apnea symptoms. We can create a custom oral appliance to help clear your child’s airway at night and allow them to get the restful sleep they need.
The root cause of sleep apnea can be difficult to pinpoint, especially in young children. Some possible causes of sleep apnea include:
- Enlarged tonsils
- Narrow facial structure
- Cleft palate
- Small jaw structure
- Low muscle tone
- High muscle tone
Sleep apnea has several audible symptoms, such as snoring, choking, or wheezing. If you notice your child experiences labored breathing while they sleep, we recommend seeking a sleep specialist to observe their nighttime habits.
Although snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, it’s not always the cause of the disorder. By scheduling a sleep study with a specialist, you can determine the root of your child’s symptoms and find a solution customized specifically for their growing airways.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition, meaning it won’t go away without treatment. Anatomy tends to remain the same after adolescence, meaning children with narrow facial structures or small jaw structures may continue to experience symptoms of sleep apnea as they age. It’s best to consult a sleep specialist to determine if your child has sleep apnea and what treatments are available.
Because sleep apnea leaves patients exhausted and moody during the day, this condition may impact your child’s development. They may struggle to remain awake and focused in school, leading to poor academic performance and learning problems.
Hyperactivity is a common symptom associated with sleep apnea in young children. Your child may have trouble sitting still or being quiet, which is why this sleep disorder is often misdiagnosed as ADHD. This symptom may also lead to social development issues.
Sleep apnea can make it difficult for your child to get the restful sleep they need to face the day. At Precision Dentistry & Implants, we offer sleep apnea treatments that can benefit your child in many ways, such as:
- Better quality sleep
- Decreased risk of developing oral health complications
- Improved behavior and mental health
- Subsides daytime headaches and fatigue
- Combats weight gain
- Less interference with development