Mainstream medicine and dentistry have not always made the link between snoring in children and the harm it can cause, which means that many parents and practitioners have never made the connection either.
As a myofunctional therapist, snoring is one of the first things I screen for in all of my patients - both kids and adults. My job is to look at the airway and find out why my patients breathe through their mouth, or have a tongue thrust or tongue-tie, and to investigate other underlying health issues related to breathing. Snoring in particular, can be an indicator of deeper, more involved airway problems, and the symptoms of airway problems are exactly what I treat.
Research shows that snoring and sleep apnea in children can lead to impaired concentration, poor memory, and difficulty focusing and learning at school. So sleep problems in children are very serious.
As a practicing myofunctional therapist and trainer, I was thrilled to see this subject covered in a current affairs segment on Australia’s high-profile 7 News Network. The program on sleep apnea in young children was called Sleepless Nights. It’s thought provoking stuff for any parent, and for us as hygienists, or for those of you with an interest in myofunctional therapy.
To watch the video, click the image below.
The lead-in to the segment on the broadcaster’s website has this to say on the topic:
“If your child snores, no matter how quietly, you may have a big problem on your hands. What most parents don’t know is that while they are sleeping, their snoring children could be suffering long-term damage.
More than half of Australian children suffer from a sleeping disorder, and the effects can last a lifetime. Experts know that a lack of sleep leads to reduced IQ, developmental issues and can even stunt a child’s growth.”
I’m happy to see other countries recognizing this problem because it definitely happens in the USA too. I see signs and symptoms related to sleep apnea in my practice all the time, and unfortunately I’m often the first healthcare provider to notice them.
If parents aren't aware of obvious loud snoring, another key thing us hygienists can tell them to watch for in their children is an open mouth. An open mouth during the day can be one of the first signs of trouble with sleep and breathing at night. It’s for this reason that I always recommend that parents and healthcare providers treat an open mouth as soon as they see the signs of it in children. Myofunctional therapy is one of the best ways to address airway issues such as snoring and other related symptoms, and this is covered in detail in my Introductory Mentoring Program.