It’s back to school! Many things need to be accomplished to plan your child’s success for the next school year. What if something as simple as breathing could be interfering with your child’s success in life?
Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) is the interruption of breathing impacting a child’s ability to receive the appropriate amount of oxygen and preventing a child from obtaining REM sleep, which is essential for proper growth and development.
When your child’s airway is compromised, not allowing for free passage of air and oxygen to the brain, the sleep cycle gets interrupted. This prevents a full night’s sleep, proper brain function for the next day and often leads to several medical complications.
Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 children suffer from one or more symptoms of SDB. Symptoms like ADHD/ADD, bed-wetting, night terrors, poor school performance, snoring and mouth breathing are just some of the outer signs of the underlying root cause. These symptoms do not self-correct. In fact, 92.6% of children will continue to exhibit these symptoms throughout their life and 30% will worsen with age. (JAOS, Brooke Stevens and Dr. Earl Bergersen)
What causes SDB?
Mouth breathing can cause the tongue to fall back and block the airway. Oral habits such as tongue thrusting, pacifier and thumb/finger sucking can cause crooked teeth, jaw misalignment and a narrow palate. Constricted upper and lower jaws can impact the bite, tongue position, teeth alignment and also compromise the airway.
If the airway is obstructed, your child may snore or even gasp for air while asleep. Although this may be common, it is not normal. When this happens, the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain for proper development is reduced.
What is the Solution?
We now have the ability to identify these issues and provide a solution. After a thorough review of the medical history and a dental examination, if the root cause of these problems is of dental nature, an appliance therapy may be indicated. This will properly position the upper and lower jaw relative to each other and to the bones of their face.
A great alternative to straightening teeth without braces, this comprehensive, conservative, non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive treatment uses a child’s own ability to guide their growth and development while helping them get the quality night sleep that they deserve. It promotes an open airway, proper growth of the jawbones, better tongue position, proper nasal breathing and eliminates bad oral habits. Appliances can be used in children as young as two and it also helps older children with sleep issues even if growth and development has already occurred.
Proper breathing is essential to a healthy life. It doesn’t matter how much sleep your child receives if it is not quality sleep. SDB can be easily overlooked, misdiagnosed,
and unfortunately left untreated. Every child should have a dental/airway assessment before school starts. As a parent, we owe it to our children to give them every chance
to succeed in life.
Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Lakewood Ranch dedicated to the oral health of children, adolescents and children with special needs. She believes in helping children achieve their full potential by providing all the necessary tools to guide their growth and development. You can visit www.sarasotachildrendentistry.com to learn more about her practice.