The Newest Epidemic Among Children, and it’s right under their Nose

epidemic among children

Serving patients of Erwin, Jonesborough, and Greeneville TN

Most parents take a quick peek in their kid’s bedrooms to ensure they are sleeping safe and sound before heading to bed. Except, what happens if you hear your child snoring loudly, tossing and turning, or their breathing pauses? These all could be signs that your child has a sleep-breathing disorder. epidemic among childrenSleep apnea dentists in Greeneville at Tusculum Dental Care share helpful information about what it means when kids snore or experience restless sleep. Plus, learn about the newest epidemic among children and how we can help.

Kids Get Sleep Apnea Too

Most people assume that middle-aged, overweight adults or the elderly are the only ones that snore. This isn’t the case! Research indicates that athletes, and people of all ages, including children, can suffer from sleep apnea. The American Sleep Apnea Association states that as nearly as 4 percent of children in the U.S. have sleep apnea. Medical professionals already struggle to correctly identify and diagnose sleep-breathing disorders, which could mean that your child’s symptoms go undiagnosed.

How Can I Tell If My Kid Has Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea presents similar symptoms in children as it does in adults, like snoring, restless sleep, and frequent awakenings at night. However, children with sleep apnea often exhibit unique symptoms like hyperactivity or ADD/ADHD. This could mean that many children receiving medication for attention-deficit or behavioral disorders are being medicated for a problem that they don’t actually have, but instead, they are silently suffering from not getting enough air while sleeping.

Another telltale sign of sleep apnea in children is mouth breathing. If your child has a weak or recessed chin, and their mouth gapes open all of the time, they could be a mouth breather, which means the body isn’t absorbing as much oxygen. Additionally, mouth breathing leads to underdeveloped jawbones and dental arches, which creates narrow or restricted airways and bite misalignment that is evident in cases of unmanaged sleep apnea.

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea in Kids

Left untreated, sleep apnea poses serious health threats that worsen in adulthood. Unmanaged sleep apnea affects not only a child’s looks but their health too. Sleep apnea sufferers who do not seek treatment have a greater risk of cardiovascular events, diabetes, and learning difficulty. Their grades may suffer, and they may lose interest in activities they once loved. Lack of proper oxygen levels also strain the heart and brain and affect a child’s growth and development.

What Should I Do If My Child Snores?

If you believe that your child has sleep apnea or he or she snores, consider scheduling a sleep apnea screening for kids in Greeneville at Tusculum Dental Care. While we do not provide an official sleep disorder diagnosis, we can screen your child’s airway and collect information to determine their risk of sleep apnea. Additionally, we can recommend a sleep study and collaborate with a sleep specialist on helping your child manage their sleep-breathing disorder. To learn more or to schedule a sleep apnea screening, please call Tusculum Dental Care at (423) 639-7575.