There’s no doubt that a good day begins with a great night’s rest, especially when we are still growing. For most children, a set sleep schedule is enough to promote positive, restorative rest; scheduled naps, a regular bedtime, and, of course, healthy habits like teeth brushing before bed.
Unfortunately, as so many tired parents can attest, some children don’t get the benefits of a full night’s rest no matter what time they go to bed or how many naps they take. Crankiness, low energy levels, and difficulty concentrating are the most obvious signs a kiddo is chronically tired. This may be related to their oral health, but don’t worry—there are several dental care solutions!
Identifying the Source of Your Child’s Sleep Issues
All solutions begin with identifying the problem. This is easier said than done of course, especially when you are dealing with youngsters who are still learning how to express themselves. Most of them don’t even understand the necessity of positive sleep habits and a good night’s rest.
But how do you identify the issue?
If you have tried everything from nightlights to lullabies and changes in diet, naps, and bedtimes, but nothing seems to improve the kiddo’s sleep cycle, there is a high possibility your child suffers from Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB).
This condition, closely related to sleep apnea, may have been brought on by their rapidly developing jaw, teeth, and palette.
What Is Sleep-Disordered Breathing?
Recently there has been more research into disorders that prevent REM sleep—the rejuvenating part of our rest we can’t go without. Plenty of this research focuses on Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a disorder that disturbs airflow in adults and results in a poor night’s rest that leads to fatigue.
SDB is often a precursor to OSA and can begin as early as four years old! Also an issue of proper airflow while sleeping, SBD is often the result of a change in your child’s mouth as it prepares to accommodate larger, permanent teeth.
How Can We Be Sure It’s SDB?
The likely culprit for your child’s sleepless nights is SDB, but we have to prove it is the problem. This, admittedly, can be tricky because SDB can be a contributing factor in over 80% of behavioral issues that affect children between the ages of four and seven. As you can imagine, this leads to a high chance of misdiagnosis.
Fortunately, recent studies in pediatrics-related fields are getting better at identifying when behavioral issues are a symptom of SDB. Nearly 6% of children may not be getting enough oxygen while sleeping for restorative rests, but are misdiagnosed with a disorder like ADHD due to their inability to concentrate.
Since SDB is often associated with developing jaws and teeth, here are a few warning signs that your child suffers from a dental issue rather than a behavioral one:
- Teeth grinding
- Loud snoring, often with pauses, snorts, or gasps
- Acid reflux or frequent stomach issues
- An overbite or crowded teeth
- Complaints of dental discomfort not associated with toothaches
If one or more of the above conditions have been a consistent problem for your child alongside their behavioral issues, it is time to confirm whether or not they have SDB. This can be done easily by your favorite family dentists at Fairchance Dental Arts. A comprehensive dental exam can put this mystery to rest and determine a course for treatment if your child has SDB.
How to Treat SDB
Thanks to our incredible team of dental professionals, our practice has several solutions to poor pediatric airway development. We offer airway orthodontics that can coax your child’s mouth into a state that will allow for better airflow.
Call Today for Dental Care that Supports Peaceful Nights
If you or a loved one are a resident of Fairchance or one of the neighboring communities, our office is your home for a beaming smile. We offer a wide variety of pediatric dentistry procedures like airway orthodontics that assist your child in getting the restorative rest and peaceful nights they need. Call our office today to learn more or to schedule a dental evaluation.