Sleep disordered breathing in children ranges in severity from mouth breathing to snoring to different degrees of airway obstruction. Sleep disordered breathing impacts a child’s ability to obtain the proper amount of oxygen and the proper amount of REM sleep, which are essential for the proper function of the brain, endocrine, and immune systems.
When a child’s snoring or labored breathing is caused by the vibration of the airway against swollen tonsils or adenoids, a consultation with an ear, nose, and throat doctor is appropriate.
When a child’s snoring or labored breathing is caused by a narrow palate or by stunted development of the jaws and nasal cavity, functional orthodontic treatment is indicated. A functional orthodontic appliance can reshape and develop a cavity, promote nasal breathing, facial structures, and optimize airflow.
Common signs and symptoms associated with sleep disordered breathing in children include:
- loud snoring
- mouth breathing
- sleeping in an abnormal position (extended head and neck with mouth open)
- breathing stops for periods of 2 or more seconds, followed by choking, gasping, or waking up
- enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- sweating at night
- sleeping restlessly
- grinding his/her teeth