Children with pediatric sleep apnea face more problems than just poor sleep, as this sleep disorder can impact their oral health and quality of life. When it comes to treating pediatric sleep apnea, it requires the interactive cooperation of specialists from every aspect of health to effectively treat and manage the condition. Many dentists can provide effective solutions for pediatric sleep apnea, and below we’ll briefly explore how pediatric sleep apnea affects their oral health and how it can be recognized early.
Understanding Pediatric Sleep Apnea and Symptoms
Pediatric sleep apnea occurs when a child experiences repeating or complete blockage of their airways during sleep. When the airways are obstructed, it reduces oxygen levels in the body and disrupts normal sleeping patterns, leading to various health complications. Identifying the symptoms of sleep apnea in children is crucial for timely intervention. If you’re worried about your child’s sleeping patterns, look out for the following indicators:
- Snoring: Loud and persistent snoring is a prominent symptom of pediatric sleep apnea
- Restless Sleep: Children with sleep apnea tend to toss and turn more frequently during sleep.
- Pauses in Breathing: When they sleep, they may experience moments of interrupted breathing
- Mouth Breathing: Children with sleep apnea often breathe through their mouths.
- Daytime Sleepiness: Your child may experience excessive daytime sleepiness or difficulty staying awake.
- Behavioral Changes: Sleep deprivation can lead to mood swings, irritability, and poor concentration when doing daily tasks.
- Poor School Performance: Poor sleep quality can also affect their concentration and cognitive abilities at school.
- Bedwetting: Pediatric sleep apnea has been associated with bedwetting in some cases.
- Developmental Milestone Issues: Children who face severe forms of pediatric sleep apnea may experience impacts on their growth and development.
When it comes to the oral health implications, pediatric sleep apnea can cause various issues with oral health, including:
- Dry Mouth: Chronic mouth breathing during sleep can lead to dry mouth, which impacts saliva production. Saliva is crucial for neutralizing acids and washing away food particles that cause bacteria growth and tooth decay.
- Abnormal Jaw Growth: Pediatric sleep apnea can also influence the child’s jaw and facial bones, potentially leading to changes in their facial structure and bite, known as malocclusion.
- Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Sleep apnea can cause a child to grind their teeth during sleep, a condition known as bruxism. This can lead to worn-down teeth, tooth sensitivity, and jaw pain.
- Malocclusions: Chronic mouth breathing with sleep apnea can lead to misalignment of the teeth and jaws, resulting in malocclusion. This can lead to an improper bite and orthodontic concerns.
- Periodontal Disease: Reduced saliva flow from sleep apnea can cause infected and inflamed gums, leading to periodontal disease.
- Enlarged Tonsils: Sleep apnea is associated with large tonsils, which can obstruct the airways and contribute to breathing problems.
Exceptional Dental Care at McCartney Dental
Located in North Port, FL, McCartney Dental is dedicated to delivering exceptional dental care. For more information about the connection between pediatric sleep apnea and oral health or to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at (941) 423-4334 to speak with Dr. Jonathan McCartney, DMD, for your dental care. Trust McCartney Dental for compassionate, expert dental care for your child’s unique needs.