Airway Treatment For Children

THE IMPORTANCE OF AIRWAY TREATMENT

We all know the importance of sleep on a child’s development, but did you know that the quality of sleep is just as important as the quantity of sleep? Some kids can sleep for long stretches but it doesn’t mean that they are getting restful sleep. If you think your child may be suffering from restless sleep, come in as soon as possible for a screening with Dr. William. Call today to schedule an appointment at Restore Health Dentistry. We have offices located in Los Alamitos and Lakewood.

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WHY IS QUALITY SLEEP IMPORTANT?

There are many areas of health and wellness that are affected by poor quality of sleep including:

  • Mental Health: Poor sleep quality is associated with poorer school performance and neurocognitive function. It can also make kids more moody, angry, and anxious. (Adults too!) Proper sleep increases kids’ attention span and boosts learning and memory, helping students perform better on tests.
  • Heart Health: Children with sleep disorders have excessive brain arousal during sleep which triggers the fight or flight response many times each night. This creates unnecessary stress on the heart.
  • Proper Weight: Kids need proper rest to ensure they are growing and developing properly as the growth hormone is primarily secreted during deep sleep. Getting too little sleep can also cause kids to become overweight. Research has shown that children and adults crave higher fat or higher carb foods when they are tired.
  • Immune System: Good sleep helps children fight infection as the cytokines that are produced during sleep help the body fight infection, illness, and stress.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT MY CHILD IS NOT GETTING QUALITY SLEEP?

It can be hard to spot the signs of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprived children often do not seem sleepy. On the contrary, symptoms of sleep deprivation and ADHD can be very similar. For this reason, it is important to rule out sleep issues if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. Some other signs of sleep deprivation include sleeping with their mouth open, mouth breathing, snoring, heavy breathing, tossing and turning, messy covers, wetting the bed, waking up in the middle of the night, lack of focus and concentration, waking up tired or groggy, hyperactivity, and anxiety or depression.

WHAT IS MOUTH BREATHING & WHY IS IT AN ISSUE?

If your child is mouthing breathing, this means that the air they are taking in is not being properly filtered, warmed, and humidified through the nose. Mouth breathing can also cause:

  1. Crooked teeth: When children breathe through their mouth, the tongue will rest low inside their mouth. This can cause crooked teeth in the long term. Ideally, children should be breathing through their nose and resting the tongue on the roof of their mouth.
  2. Inflamed tonsils: When breathing through the mouth, unfiltered dry air hits the tonsils and causes inflammation and swelling, which can further impact proper breathing.
  3. Less oxygen in the body: Nitric oxide is produced in the sinuses and helps your body absorb more oxygen. When you breathe through your mouth, the oxygen is not mixed with this nitric oxide, causing your body to not absorb oxygen as efficiently. With less oxygen in the bloodstream, this can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, and possibly sleep apnea.
  4. Abnormal facial development: When children primarily breathe through their mouths their facial development is affected causing a long narrow face, and can also lead to a gummy smile.
  5. Dry mouth: Mouth breathing can dry out the oral cavity. It is important to keep the mouth moist with saliva as saliva washes away bacteria from the tooth surface. If the mouth is dry, plaque will stay on the teeth longer, causing cavities and possibly leading to gingivitis.

HOW CAN A DENTIST TREAT AIRWAY ISSUES?

If you think your child may be exhibiting the symptoms of mouth breathing or sleep deprivation, it is important to come in for an airway screening. Dr. William will be able to assess your child’s condition and help answer any questions you may have.

First, she will administer an airway and sleep questionnaire. Then, she will work with you to determine an appropriate treatment plan. If needed, Dr. William may recommend your child wear a pulse oximetry device while they sleep to gather data on oxygen saturation and heart rate. She will use all of this information and data to determine whether your child can benefit from further airway treatment. We are here to help, so be sure to give us a call at (562) 936-0071, or schedule your next visit online.