Children can suffer from sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing just like adults. Without treatment, sleep apnea in children can lead to developmental impairment and cause difficulties in school. Oftentimes, sleep disordered breathing is misdiagnosed as ADHD because they have overlapping symptoms. 

One of the best ways to help your child receive the correct treatment for their condition is to know the warning signs of sleep disordered breathing in children. That way, when you do recognize them, you can help your children get treatment as soon as possible. Here are some of the warning signs to watch out for. 

Bed Wetting 

One of the most common symptoms in children with sleep disordered breathing is bedwetting. The reason bed wetting is so common is that children aren’t sleeping well every night. As a result, the brain wants to focus on staying asleep as much as possible so when they’re in a deep sleep and they need to go to the bathroom, the brain doesn’t want to alert them to wake up to go. Instead, they wet the bed. Unfortunately, they still wake up from bedwetting which leads to a further lack of sleep. 

Snoring, Pauses in Breathing, Snorting, Coughing, or Choking 

When the airway is obstructed, the narrow airway most often causes the snoring sound. Children with sleep disordered breathing may snore loudly at night, and/or have pauses in their breathing, or cough, choke or snort throughout the night. These pauses in breathing or choking, snoring, and coughing noises are known as apnea episodes. With sleep apnea, the airway obstruction causes a pause in breathing followed by coughing, choking, or snorting to catch one’s breath. This cycle repeats hundreds of times throughout the night and can prevent one from getting any deep sleep.  

Sleep Terrors 

Nearly 40% of children with sleep apnea experience night terrors and sleepwalking. Sleep terrors occur often in children with sleep apnea because sleep deprivation can cause them.  

Daytime Symptoms 

In addition to symptoms listed above, that can happen while your child sleeps, there are also many daytime symptoms to watch out for including: 

  • Poor school performance 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Learning problems 
  • Behavior problems 
  • Hyperactive 
  • Weight gain 
  • Naps  
  • Mouth breathing 

If you notice your child exhibiting any of the warning signs of sleep disordered breathing, it’s important to get them a sleep test and examination as soon as possible. This will help a physician determine what treatment plan to prescribe. Many children require a tonsillectomy 

While others can benefit from a sleep appliance. At Firouzian Dentistry, we can provide your child with Healthy Start, an alternative to orthodontics that promotes proper facial development and resting oral posture that provides an open airway. Healthy Start can treat sleep disordered breathing conditions long-term and prevent your child from needing an orthodontic treatment. 

To learn more about Healthy Start in Columbus, OH, and to find out if it’s right for your child, please schedule a consultation with our Columbus, Ohio dentist by calling (614) 848-5001 today.