Childhood snoring

One of the more common conditions we have seen related to a sleep-breathing disorder is childhood bed-wetting.

by Dr. Nicholas Meyer — 

Snoring is a mild sleep-breathing disorder, but it can be a harbinger of a more severe condition known as sleep apnea. The continuum for these conditions ranges from snoring on one end of the scale to sleep apnea to the other.

One of the more common conditions we have seen related to a sleep-breathing disorder is childhood bed-wetting. This is not to be confused with normal growth and development that occurs around ages two and three, but rather a problem that goes well past 5 years. This is a critical time for the development of a child’s self-esteem, and a problem such as bed-wetting is psychologically challenging. The child may become more socially withdrawn or demonstrate the reverse; more aggressive behavior tendencies. Either can result from bed-wetting.

One key factor in the child’s growth is adequate airway development. A diminished airway throughout the daily life of the youngster will prevent normal growth and development. Behavior issues (e.g., ADHD), bed-wetting, stunted stature or cognitive growth, and the like can develop.

A visit to a knowledgeable doctor can help. The doctor will assess the upper and lower jaws to see how the size and shape are developing. If the jaws are too narrow, a recommendation will probably be made to intervene with some type of arch expander. Growth often needs to be enhanced in both the lateral (side to side), as well as the front-to-back direction. The doctor can assess this by making some measurements.

Snoring is not normal, but it is common. It can be an indicator of a growth and development problem that can affect the behavior and well-being of your child.

 

Nicholas Meyer, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Scottsdale, Ariz., with a special interest in the functional aspects of the oral cavity that contribute to such maladies as TMJ, snoring and sleep apnea. 480-948-0560 or www.milldental.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 4, August/September 2008.

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