Children and Sleep Apnea

Once children start sleeping through the night, their parents utter a huge sigh of relief! Finally, they stop getting up at all hours, waking the whole house. But just because your child appears to be doing well, their sleep pattern could still be disrupted by sleep apnea.

While it’s true that sleep apnea is more commonly associated with adults, doctors and dentists are seeing this sleep disorder in children too. The causes of sleep apnea in children are usually due to a small palate size, which forces the tongue back in the mouth, causing a constriction of the airway. Tonsil and adenoid issues can also play a role, so a combined approach is important between your child’s doctor and our Sacramento sleep apnea dentists and specialists. What are the signs of sleep apnea in children?

  • Mouth breathing, instead of breathing through the nose;
  • Snoring not associated with a cold or allergies;
  • Tiredness throughout the day, even after a full night’s sleep;
  • A narrow mouth or smile;
  • A small jaw size;
  • Crooked or crowded teeth, even before baby teeth fall out.

A child with a small mouth, palate and jaw may not just have issues with snoring, crowded teeth and day time lethargy. They are likely not getting enough oxygen and suffering from sleep apnea! Just like an adult, this lack of air during the one-third of their life they spend sleeping can have a negative impact on their overall health.

The Right Time for Sleep Apnea Therapy

Since a child’s bones and palate are still growing and developing, this is a good time in their life to make lasting and beneficial changes in the shape of their oral cavity. A larger palate will mean more than a stop to the snoring! It leads to straighter teeth, a healthier bite, a better smile, the possibility of keeping their wisdom teeth and a brighter dental future. Using orthodontics, a palate spreader, an oral appliance, or any combination of these three, your child’s issues with snoring and lethargy will be improved or even gone for good.

Please don’t assume your child is saddled with a small mouth, crowded teeth, snoring issues and low energy for life. Talk with our dental professionals about treating your child to ensure a quiet night’s sleep and better health in their immediate future.