10 percent of children snore. Of that 10 percent, up to 50% have sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea in children can result in a lower IQ score (10 points lower ) and often place the child in the bottom 25% of the class as they are not getting the rest they need. Another scary statistic– almost half of children identified in sleep studies to have sleep apnea are being treated for ADHD (when it is often a sleep issue instead).
Snoring is different in children. If your child is making any sort of breathing noise while sleeping (wheezing, heavy breathing, whistling)–that is snoring.
Dentists are often the first to pick up on sleep issues in children, since the abnormal breathing can cause changes in the jaw and mouth. If you notice your child making any sort of breathing sounds while sleeping (when they are healthy, of course. Stuffy noses and colds can make anyone breathe heavier when asleep), discuss the issue with your dentist and pediatrician to plan a course of action in identifying sleep apnea or another sleep breathing issue, such as large tonsils.
Stay tuned next week for a post on sedation dentistry and children.