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Wellness Wednesday: Sleep Apnea in Kids

Posted at 7:05 AM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 09:05:41-04

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when our regular breathing is interrupted during sleep. Snoring is associated with sleep apnea, but not all snorers have sleep apnea.

Dr. Rosa Pothier from Boise Integrative Dentistry, representing Idaho State Dental Association (ISDA) said that sleep apnea is caused by underlying issues with the mouth, jaw, & throat that form from a narrow airway.

She says that 50% of children ages 4-8 will experience symptoms of sleep apnea.

Here are the sleep apnea signs Dr. Pothier says parents should look for which include:

Easy signs:

  • your child has difficulty sleeping throughout the night 
  • irritable during the day 
  • if they snore while sleeping 

Less direct signs:

  • ADHD 
  • Obesity 
  • Depression 
  • crooked or crowded teeth 
  • narrow or long faces 
  • even poor grades 

Possible sleep apnea treatment options Dr. Pothier says parents can do to help their kids are:

  • Adjust sleep habits 
  • CPAP (continuous positive air pressure): a device that’ll improve your breathing as you sleep by supplying air through the nasal passages & by keeping the airway open while you are sleeping 
  • Oral devices: that can shift/support the jaw to prevent the airway from collapsing 
  • Surgery is an option if other treatments don’t work 

Dr. Rosa Pothier said that it’s interesting to know that sleep apnea can be linked to more than one health issue. For more information click here.