Is Snoring a Health Concern?
My 4.5 old snores, it started consistently about 3 weeks ago. I’ve noticed she has her mouth slightly open and tongue thrusted. She has a humidifier and I’ve checked her breathing at night and it’s been normal. Changing her sleep position doesn’t stop her from snoring. Is it okay to wait until her yearly checkup or should I make an appointment for sooner? Do you recommend I bring her snoring up to her dentist too?
I have learned so much about the importance of addressing snoring from my husband, Dr. Bill. He has brought home many stories from his medical practice of how discovering and treating the underlying cause of snoring has greatly improved a child’s emotional and physical health.
Take a Closer Look
One clue is you’ve noticed your child is a mouth-breather. Continue checking on her at night to see if you hear noisy breathing followed by a ten-second pause of no breathing. This is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Large tonsils and/or adenoids can obstruct breathing: your child’s doctor will check them. A deviated nasal septum can also interrupt airflow. When a child doesn’t get enough oxygen at night the sleep quality is disrupted, as is the child’s behavior and learning quality the next day.
Talk with Your Childs Physicians
Take a couple-minute video of her sleeping. Then take the video in to your child’s doctor and play show and tell. Show the doctor your video and tell her about your concerns. I wouldn’t wait until the yearly check-up. The sooner you address the cause, the better. Besides your doctor checking for anatomical causes, such as tongue-thrusting and obstructive nose breathing, it’s very important to have your dentist check her dental alignment. Persistent tongue-thrusting is a clue to dental alignment that can interfere with adequate breathing.
Be sure you consult a dentist who is knowledgeable in detecting the correlation between dental alignment and inadequate breathing, especially at night. You would be amazed at how an appliance that improves dental alignment can greatly improve nighttime breathing, even within three to six months. Once upon a time most dentists waited to use a dental appliance until a child was older and most of their permanent teeth had erupted, yet nowadays many dentists are beginning to use the dental appliances at an earlier age, especially if the OSA is affecting the child’s quality of sleep, behavior, and learning.
Written by: Martha Sears, R.N.
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”