Pediatric sleep apnea is a condition that can affect children, leading to disrupted sleep and potential implications for their oral health. At Oak Grove Dental Center, we understand that addressing pediatric sleep apnea is important and that children with it could face unintentional consequences for their oral health later in life. Here’s a short guide on what you should know about pediatric sleep apnea and how it can be treated.
Understanding Pediatric Sleep Apnea and Your Treatment Options
Pediatric sleep apnea occurs when a child’s airways become partially or completely blocked during sleep, leading to reduced oxygen levels and disrupted sleep patterns. Detecting the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea in children is crucial for early intervention. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Snoring: Persistent and loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea in children.
- Restless Sleep: Children with sleep apnea may experience tossing and turning in their sleep.
- Pauses in Breathing: In some cases, children may experience pauses in breathing during their sleep.
- Mouth Breathing: Sleep apnea causes children to breathe primarily through the mouth instead of their nose.
- Daytime Sleepiness: Excessive daytime sleepiness or difficulty staying awake can be signs of sleep apnea.
- Behavioral Changes: Sleep deprivation can also cause mood changes, leading to irritability, mood swings, and poor concentration.
- Poor School Performance: Sleep deprivation from sleep apnea can also affect their cognitive abilities and ability to perform well in school.
Because of how this condition interferes with sleep, pediatric sleep apnea can have massive oral health implications for your child, causing problems to arise, such as:
- Malocclusions: Chronic mouth breathing from sleep apnea can lead to tooth and jaw misalignment, resulting in an improper bite and other orthodontic concerns.
- Bruxism: Sleep apnea can also contribute to teeth grinding (bruxism) in children, leading to tooth wear, jaw pain, and headaches.
- Tooth Decay: Breathing through the mouth can also contribute to dryness, reducing saliva flow and increasing the risk of tooth decay and cavities.
- Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease: Reduction in saliva flow from mouth breathing can also contribute to gum inflammation, which can progress to periodontal disease.
- Facial Abnormalities: Pediatric sleep apnea, especially during the child’s earliest stages of development, can sometimes cause facial abnormalities, such as long-face syndrome or changes in jaw development.
- Enlarged Tonsils: Sleep apnea is often associated with enlarged tonsils, which can obstruct airways and contribute to breathing difficulties.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: In many cases, sleep deprivation in children can lead to struggles maintaining proper oral hygiene.
Managing Pediatric Sleep Apnea at Oak Grove Dental Center
At Oak Grove Dental Center, early identification and treatment for pediatric sleep apnea is essential for your child’s oral health. If you want to learn more about our services, please get in touch with our practice in Milwaukie, OR, by calling (503) 654-9521 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin H. Speer.