Top 7 Signs Your Child May be Suffering from Sleep Disordered Breathing

Top 7 Signs Your Child May be Suffering from Sleep Disordered Breathing
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By Dr. Sabrina Magid-Katz, Advanced Dentistry of Westchester 
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Is your child affected by sleep or breathing issues? Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) is an all-inclusive term for breathing difficulties, ranging from mild snoring all the way to severe airway obstruction during sleep. When your child’s breathing is disrupted, their body recognizes the disruption much like choking, which can result in changes in heart rate, raised blood pressure, arousal of the brain, and ultimately disrupted sleep.
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Sleep disorders often run in families, although they can manifest differently in children. Sleep issues can contribute to behavioral problems such as ADD, bed-wetting, and difficulty in school (especially math and reading). These symptoms may show that an underlying problem exists.  There are ways we can guide growth to not only improve symptoms but set children up for a healthier future.
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TOP SIGNS OF SLEEP DISORDERED BREATHING
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ADD/ADHD- Because some of the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing are so similar to Attention Deficit Disorder, as much as 50% of ADD/ADHD diagnoses may in fact be related to a sleep disorder.  Screening and treating for sleep disorders can help the conditions of those with ADD/ADHD and may allow the reduction of medications.  Studies also show that 25% of children with ADHD could have their problem eliminated if their sleep breathing disorders were effectively treated.  More than half of children who suffer from ADHD will experience profound effects as adults if untreated.  If we can uncover an underlying sleep disorder and change their growth to eliminate it, we can remove this risk as well as the need for future treatment.
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Bed wetting- This is an embarrassing and stressful issue for more families than one might think.  Children with sleep-disordered breathing are thirty percent more likely to have issues with bedwetting.  This may be the result of pressure on the bladder while trying to breathe or changes to the hormones from the sleep disorder over time.  Treating patients with sleep-disordered breathing is likely to improve or resolve the bedwetting.
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Difficulty in school- Children who don’t get good quality sleep at night often have difficulty during school, especially in subjects that take high amounts of concentration like math and reading. Those with sleep disorders were found to be three times more likely to have grades of C or lower, and seven times more likely to have reported learning problems.  Not only will grades suffer, but their self-confidence and social relationships will suffer too.  In class, they may be labeled as “bad at math,” a “slow reader,” or disruptive.  On the playground, they can be more irritable, aggressive, anxious, and more likely to be depressed.  They are more likely to have emotional, communication, and friendship difficulties.  Some children who are officially diagnosed with behavior disorders actually have underlying sleep disorders.
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Crowded teeth- Crowded teeth may force the jaw and muscles to develop in a way that constricts the child’s airway. Many people don’t think about the teeth and mouth when they think of sleep disorders or the other symptoms it can cause, such as ADD.  However, poorly positioned teeth and bite can actually cause the sleep disorder in the first place.  One disorder, called obstructive sleep apnea, is when the tongue and tissue in the mouth and throat block the airway.  If the teeth crowd the space the tongue should rest in, or the jaw pushes the tongue back, the airway will be blocked.
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Snoring/mouth breathing/restless sleep- Has the noise coming from your child’s room stopped you in your tracks? Have you taken the time to quietly watch and listen to your child sleep?  Try it some time, as it may give you some valuable insight into how they’re breathing.  Snoring may be annoying or even funny at times, but it is one of the most common and easily recognizable signs that a person may have a sleep breathing disorder.   Keep in mind, however, that although snoring can be a good indicator that further diagnosis is needed, it is not always present and is not a requirement for a sleep disorder.  Children are less likely to snore than adults and parents are even less likely to report them as snoring, despite the presence of sleep breathing disorders.  When listening closely, gasping and snorting sounds during sleep may catch you off guard or even make you momentarily worry. Even though they may seem to be sleeping peacefully right after, it is important to investigate further, as this is a pretty good indicator of sleep disordered breathing as well.  You may also notice that your child’s mouth hangs open while they’re sleeping or even during the daytime.  Mouth breathing may be a sign that their airway is obstructed.  It can also lead to changes in facial growth, which can in turn make the sleeping problem worse.  Lastly, if your child has restless sleep or wakes up frequently it may be because they’re not able to breathe properly while sleeping.  Sleep is tremendously important for proper growth, development, and health.  That’s why it is just as important to properly diagnose and correct whatever is disturbing their slumber.
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Allergies– Kids with allergies and stuffy nose have part of their airway blocked, so they are more likely to breathe through their mouth at night.  This mouth breathing can change the way they grow and develop and make the airway worse for life.  There is also some thought that the physical stress of these sleep breathing disorders can cause inflammation and other immune reactions which may cause the allergies to worsen.
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Daytime sleepiness-  You might imagine a person who isn’t sleeping properly at night to be really tired during the day.  While many (but not all) adults with sleep disorders report feeling tired during the day, it is less of an indicator for children.  Many children show signs of hyperactivity secondary to the exhaustion, making the sleepiness difficult for parents to detect.  However, if your child is telling you that they are sleepy, it is best to listen to them and take them seriously enough to get it checked out.
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A child with Sleep Disordered Breathing may exhibit many of the same symptoms as a child with ADD/ADHD, Poor Performance in School, Nightmares, Bedwetting, Chronic Allergies and more! Unfortunately, many children are being misdiagnosed and mistreated.  Many treatments also temporarily help the symptom without fixing the underlying problem.  With The Healthy Start program, we address the core sleep issues while naturally straightening teeth. The program enables us to address sleep disordered breathing and straighten teeth without braces.  The system can supplement or even replace traditional orthodontics by treating children earlier and addressing the muscle habits and overall development. Children without sleep disorders can benefit too!  By correcting muscle habits and aligning the teeth as they come into the mouth (rather than waiting until after they’re in), we can eliminate the need for those annoying retainers the rest of their life.  It is a gentle, non-invasive, natural way of straightening teeth to achieve a picture-perfect, healthy, and beautiful smile.
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The system works with the natural forces of tooth eruption and swallowing. The soft, comfortable, removable devices gently guide the erupting teeth into their perfect positions. It aids in the correct growth and alignment of the jaw, encourages the development of proper oral habits, and expands the arches to ensure incoming permanent teeth have enough room to erupt in straight.
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If your child is exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, set up a consultation so we can get your child on the path to a more comfortable diagnosis and treatment.  By intervening early, we can correct many of these issues so that they may achieve their full potential and live a healthier life.
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About Dr. Sabrina Magid-Katz, D.M.D.
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Dr. Sabrina Magid-Katz, D.M.D., lectures to dental societies about screening for Sleep Apnea and is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. She practices general dentistry at Advanced Dentistry of Westchester in Harrison, NY where she also screens for and treats Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Dr. Magid Katz DMD holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Bases of Behavior from Duke University and completed her Doctorate of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the recipient of the prestigious “Robert Seminara Resident of the Year” award for “excellence in General Dentistry and outstanding service as a PGY1 Dental Resident” from NY Presbyterian-Methodist Hospital. Named in Westchester Magazine as one of the 22 people that everyone in the County will be talking about, Dr. Sabrina Magid Katz DMD takes great pride in the cutting edge dental care she offers patients, as well as in her expertise in screening for oral cancer and obstructive sleep apnea. Throughout her schooling and dental career, she has also been committed to addressing the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. Dr. Magid Katz has been featured in Teen Vogue, Vice, Dentistry Today, Social Life Magazine, WAG Magazine, Fox 5 and numerous media outlets.  For more information visit www.adofw.com.

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  • Advanced Dentistry of Westchester
  • Kenneth S. Magid, DDS, FICD
  • Sabrina Magid-Katz, DMD

  • 163 Halstead Ave. • Harrison, NY 10528
  • (914) 835-0542
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