Sleep-Breathing Disorders in Children

child sleep breathing disorderThousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA

How your child breathes can have a significant impact on their health. Have you ever noticed if your child breathes through his or her mouth or snores while sleeping? If your answer to either question is yes, then your child may have a sleep-breathing disorder (SBD).

What is a sleep-breathing disorder?

SBD is when a person’s airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep, which usually results in mouth breathing or snoring. The most common form of SBD is obstructive sleep apnea.

Why should I be concerned if my child has a sleep-breathing disorder?

The problem with SBD is that it disrupts sleep, as well as deprives the body of oxygen. When SBD occurs, the brain sends signals to the body that it is time to wake, although the sufferer may not be aware of these instances. SBD episodes can occur hundreds of times while a person is sleeping.

What are the risk factors of a sleep-breathing disorder?

A recent study conducted by researchers in Finland discovered that body-fat percentage was not a risk factor of SBD in children ages 6-8. Instead, the results indicated that children who exhibited these risk factors also experienced symptoms of a sleep-breathing disorder.

The following instances were considered risk factors:

  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Jaw positions (overbite, cross bite)
  • Facial proportions

What are the symptoms of a sleep-breathing disorder?

Here are some common symptoms associated with SBD, many of which mimic ADHD-like behaviors:

  • Behavioral/emotional problems
  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Aggressiveness
  • Conduct issues
  • Anxiety
  • Social issues
  • Bullying behavior
  • Cognitive impairment

If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, or if they are being treated for a behavioral disorder, consider a consultation with the dentist to determine if your child may have a sleep-breathing disorder. To effectively treat your child’s behavior, it is essential to get a proper diagnosis for the cause of their issue.

You can also help by observing how your child breathes while sleeping. If you notice that they mouth breathe or snore, do not delay in scheduling a consultation with the dentist.

At The Connection, we can diagnose and treat children suffering from sleep-breathing disorders. To learn more about SBD or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at (805) 380-6169.

The Connection provides oral health care with a holistic approach for patients in the Agoura Hills and Westlake Village communities of southern California.