Many parents aren’t aware that obstructive sleep apnea can affect children. The truth is that your chances of suffering from sleep apnea are much higher if you’re a middle aged or older adult. However, there are cases of pediatric sleep apnea, and unfortunately these often go undiagnosed due to lack of information.
The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can sometimes be difficult to detect, so keep your eyes open for these red flags—let your dentist know if you notice any.
Both adults and children with obstructive sleep apnea may:
· Wake throughout the night due to low oxygen levels
· Snore loudly and disruptively
· Sweat profusely in the night
· Wake up choking or gasping for air
Adult patients with sleep apnea are likely to complain of:
· Chronic headaches, especially upon waking in the morning
· Dental grinding and clenching in the night—you might notice jaw and neck soreness upon waking
· Chronic fatigue—sleep apnea can disrupt your body’s ability to complete a full REM cycle
Children are often unable to articulate and understand the consequences of poor sleep as completely as adults, so you should stay on the lookout for behavioral changes that point toward disrupted sleep, such as:
· Loss of focus or motivation—you may hear that your child’s behavior has changed in class and that they’re acting sluggish or distracted
· Your child may have trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position; they may start trying to sleep on their stomach to prevent airway obstruction
· In some cases obstructive sleep apnea can cause bedwetting
There are treatment options to help all patients overcome sleep apnea and get the restful nights’ sleep they need. To get started, give our O’Fallon sleep apnea dentist office a call—we’re here to help you live happy and healthy!