Understanding The Impact Of Pediatric Sleep Apnea

When discussing sleep apnea, it’s common to assume that it’s an adult being discussed. However, sleep apnea can occur at any age and be a serious health condition in children. Some of the concerns that children with this condition can face involve oral health, which can have lasting impacts on the health and beauty of their smiles. Thankfully, there are ways to manage pediatric sleep apnea and the potential oral health concerns that can come with it. The Countryside Smiles team is here to help you manage the oral health risks of sleep apnea and ensure your child has a beautiful smile for years.

Understanding The Impact Of Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is an increasingly common form of sleeping disorder that manifests as a sleep cycle that is repeatedly interrupted due to breathing complications. In children, one of the most common causes of sleep apnea is adenoids or tonsils that enlarge and obstruct the breathing airway during sleep. Symptoms of this condition include behavioral problems, fragmented sleep, daytime fatigue, and difficulty learning. These symptoms are just a few that can occur in children living with pediatric sleep apnea and do not include those that can impact their oral health.

The most notable risks to your child’s oral health include:

  • Mouth Breathing – Sleep apnea can lead to your child breathing through their mouth while they’re sleeping, causing them to experience dry mouth. Saliva is an essential part of our oral cavity health and functioning. Beyond keeping the mouth hydrated, it also washes away food debris and plaque and helps to combat streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
  • Abnormal Jaw Growth – Consistently breathing with the mouth open during our developmental years can impact the natural development of the jaw and oral structures. It can influence our bite and facial structure, resulting in malocclusion.
  • Grinding Teeth (Bruxism) – Bruxism is the term for chronic tooth grinding and most often occurs during our nighttime hours. Bruxing can lead to symptoms such as jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, and worn-down teeth.

Identifying symptoms like these early can help us take steps to provide effective intervention and treatment that can limit the long-term risk of oral health concerns from sleep apnea. It’s important to act quickly if you notice that your child is exhibiting these symptoms. Multiple treatment approaches exist. The dental solution uses a special appliance that helps relieve the pressure that causes your child’s throat to close while sleeping. Surgical removal of the adenoids or tonsils may be required in some cases.

See The Countryside Smiles Team To Learn More

Don’t wait to seek a consultation if you identify symptoms of sleep apnea in your child. The sooner that intervention therapies and treatments are applied, the less risk of this sleeping disorder impacting the health and beauty of your child’s smile. You can contact us at (972) 957-7610 or stop by our Murphy, TX location to get started. We’ll schedule your child for an exam and consultation with Dr. Jaspreet Gill or another member of the Countryside Smiles team.