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Yes, Sleep Apnea Can Affect Young Children Too!

Snoring in children can be a sign of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea – something your family dentist can actually help you screen for & and treat.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by complications in breathing during sleep or rest. In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), irregular breathing is generally caused by a narrowed or obstructed airway, which can cause snoring, long pauses in breathing, tossing and turning, and more.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain is not sending the proper signals to your muscles that control breathing.

OSA is far more common and can easily be screened for and eventually treated by your family dentist!

It’s important to note that people of all ages can have obstructive sleep apnea, and the signs and treatments may differ for children than for adults.

Signs of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea

Snoring is not the only sign of sleep apnea. In fact, children (and adults) with sleep apnea may not even snore at all.

Here are some other signs to look out for in your child:

  • Snoring or irregular breathing patterns
  • Restless sleep, including tossing and turning
  • Bedwetting
  • Teeth grinding, sometimes called bruxism
  • Behavioral issues, or inability to focus
  • Excessive napping, or trouble staying awake
  • Childhood obesity

Sleep issues like OSA that are left untreated in children can cause more complications later in life, including some of the aforementioned signs listed above. It is estimated that about 4% of children may have sleep apnea, and almost 30% of children diagnosed with ADHD were actually incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD and should have been treated for pediatric sleep apnea instead. A study has shown that undiagnosed pediatric sleep apnea can cause up to 20 points of IQ loss.

The next time you take your child to the dentist, ask them about pediatric OSA. Dentists are able to screen for this sleep disorder and can help you find the best treatment plan, which may include dental appliances or surgery.

Book your dental appointment now

The dental team along with Dr. Stephen Coates is committed to helping families in or near the Long Beach area find their smiles and live healthier lives through better oral care. Dr. Coates has years of experience in assessing and treating pediatric & adult sleep breathing disorders and works with a team of physicians and other health care specialists so his patients achieve optimal results.

To book your appointment online, use our scheduling tool here, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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