Although it may seem incredible, sleep and even breathing disorders can cause oral health problems in minors.
Doctors remember that sleep and breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea and snoring, These are conditions that can be especially harmful to developing children.
Pediatric dentist Melissa Rojas explained that these disorders can not only lead to serious health problems, but also have a direct impact on the oral health of the smallest ones.
For the specialist, the main thing is to determine the cause, whether it is anatomical or physiological. She warns that normally these cases reach the pediatrician or pediatric dentist first and must be guided to the corresponding specialist and work hand in hand with them.
The main effects of these disorders on children’s oral health include:
- Dental malocclusion: Sleep disorders can cause children to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose. This constant mouth breathing can lead to dental alignment problems, resulting in malocclusion and an incorrect bite.
- Increased risk of dental cavities: Dry mouth, which is common in those who breathe through their mouths due to sleep disorders, creates an environment conducive to the growth of harmful bacteria. This increases the risk of tooth decay and gum problems in children.
- Altered facial development: Lack of oxygen during sleep can negatively affect facial development, which can result in problems such as an underdeveloped jaw or a narrow palate.
- Increased need for orthodontic treatment: Patients with sleep and breathing disorders may require more extensive orthodontic treatments in the future to correct malocclusion and dental alignment problems.
- Speech problems: Constant oral breathing can affect the way children pronounce words and speech development.
- Bruxism: Children who suffer from breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea, may be more prone to bruxism, which is the grinding of teeth during sleep. Bruxism can cause excessive wear on permanent teeth, which may require restorative treatments such as crowns or veneers in the future.
“It is crucial that parents and caregivers pay attention to their children’s sleep patterns and seek guidance from health professionals, when necessary, early identification and treatment of sleep and breathing disorders can make a big difference. in the oral health of children and in their quality of life in general,” commented Rojas.
To identify these problems that lead minors to suffer from the conditions mentioned above, the doctor listed the following symptoms:
- Breathing through the mouth: Children who breathe primarily through their mouth instead of their nose may have underlying breathing problems. This may be due to chronic nasal congestion, enlarged tonsils, or other factors. They are boys who normally walk by with their mouths open at all times and sleep the same way.
- Snoring: Regular, loud snoring during sleep may be a sign of upper airway obstruction, such as sleep apnea or enlarged tonsils.
- Difficulty breathing: Children may show signs of difficulty breathing, such as rapid breathing, labored breathing, or choking when speaking.
- Wheezing: The presence of wheezing or “wheezing” when breathing can be a sign of respiratory problems, such as asthma.
- Fatigue and daytime sleepiness: Children with sleep apnea may experience daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating at school, and excessive sleepiness as episodes of paused breathing during the night disrupt their sleep. In addition to bad mood and poor academic performance.
- Irritability: Respiratory problems can cause irritability in children due to disrupted sleep and lack of adequate oxygen.
- Poor growth: In severe or long-term cases of breathing problems, children may experience poor growth due to lack of oxygen and the metabolic stress that comes with difficulty breathing.
- Recurrent respiratory infections: Children with chronic respiratory problems may be prone to frequent respiratory infections, such as colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
- Common oral infections: Canker sores, tooth decay, red gums and bad breath are other common characteristics in these cases.