Sleep apnea is a condition impacting the health of a growing number of people of every age. While rare than cases that appear in adults, it’s entirely possible for sleep apnea to occur in even very young children. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that impacts the ability of the sufferer to breathe during their sleep cycle. This leads to symptoms such as behavioral problems, fragmented sleep, daytime fatigue, and difficulty learning. However, there are additional risks that sleep apnea can pose to the health of your smile. The team at Dentistry of Miami is available to help provide treatment options for these concerns.
How Sleep Apnea Impacts Your Oral Health
Those living with sleep apnea experience frequent interruptions in their breathing during their normal sleep cycle. This is often due to inflamed or enlarged tonsils and adenoids obstructing the airway in children. In addition to the symptoms mentioned previously, there are several implications for the health of their smile. One of the primary risks involves sleep apnea sufferers tending to breathe through their mouths. Breathing through our mouths causes our saliva to dry up, leading to dry mouth periods.
Most individuals underestimate the importance of the presence of saliva in our mouths. In addition to keeping our mouths hydrated and allowing us to chew, speak, and swallow easier, it protects our teeth from decay. It serves as a rinse, keeping foods, plaque, and acid off our teeth. However, it also alters the pH of our mouths, making them an inhospitable area for the bacteria Streptococcus mutans. This bacteria is responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. Other potential risks that sleep apnea sufferers experience include:
- Abnormal Jaw Growth – Constantly having our mouths open while we sleep can impact the natural development of our jaw and oral structures. This can result in your child developing malocclusions, misalignment of the jaw, and the formation of an improper bite.
- Bruxism – Bruxism is the technical term for chronic teeth grinding. This can result from sleep apnea and produce many negative effects for the sufferer. These symptoms can include aching jaws, headaches, chipped and broken teeth, and accelerated wear-and-tear on the enamel.
If you recognize these symptoms in your child, it’s time to bring them in to see our team. We can assess these symptoms and determine if they may be suffering from sleep apnea. If they are experiencing symptoms of this condition, we can take steps to help mitigate the impact it has. One approach available is a dental appliance that keeps your child’s airway open while they’re sleeping.
See Us For Help With Pediatric And Adult Oral Health Concerns
If you’re concerned that you or your child’s oral health may be at risk from sleep apnea symptoms, come see us today. We’ll go through a comprehensive dental exam and speak to you about symptoms and concerns. Together we’ll develop an effective treatment plan that can help prevent these symptoms from impacting your child’s oral health. Call us today at (305) 598-2622, or reach out to our clinic in Miami, FL, today!