As parents, we always want what is best for our children. From making sure they eat healthy foods to ensuring they get enough exercise, we prioritize their well-being above all else. However, one crucial aspect of their health often goes unnoticed—sleep disorders.
Many children suffer from poor sleep due to breathing problems caused by an insufficient airway. This condition is known as sleep-disordered breathing or SDB for short. Obstructive sleep apnea is one type of sleep-disordered breathing caused by the involuntary collapse of the airway during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is typically considered a medical problem, whereas airway insufficiency or an inadequate (too narrow, partially restricted) can result from what is typically considered “dental problems,” such as tongue ties, which inhibit proper tongue movement, and narrow palate, which tends to reduce the volume of the upper airway. Other contributors to sleep-disordered breathing are a “slumped” or forward head posture (as when a child’s head is constantly bent forward and down when using a smartphone or tablet) and excessive mouth breathing.
Sleep-disordered breathing can result in poor sleep quality, fatigue, inattention while awake (as at school), hyperactivity, and reduced performance. Sometimes, these issues can be misinterpreted by parents and teachers as purely “behavioral problems” to be treated with medication, whereas these problems may, in fact, be caused by poor sleep.
Thankfully, through proper airway and breathing treatment for children in Los Angeles, CA, sleep-disordered breathing doesn’t have to take away from your child’s quality of life.
How Can Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing Be Treated?
If your child is experiencing poor sleep, consult your pediatrician and your pediatric dentist. If an insufficient airway and poor breathing are disrupting restful sleep, properly trained and equipped pediatric dentists can conduct a thorough oral and upper airway exam and can offer a range of personalized treatments [I linked “personalized treatments” to the Patient Education Page], such as laser-assisted tissue release, myofunctional therapy and use of an oral appliance to aid with proper development of the palate and upper airway.