A recent study has shown children who suffer from sleep disorders are more likely to exhibit similar symptoms as ADD or ADHD. This claim stems from a British study of 11,000 children from age six months until the age of six, which found the children who experienced interrupted sleep from snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, were 40 to 100 percent more likely to also exhibit ADHD-like symptoms in comparison to the children who breathed well at night.

Sleep apnea can affect patients of any age—even children

If your child has sleep-disordered breathing, he may be suffering from a form of sleep apnea. During times of sleep apnea, your child’s airway is blocked and the flow of oxygen to the brain is impeded or completely interrupted. The brain realizes that there is low oxygen in the body and will cause the child to partially wake from sleep.

Two things result from this: a cranky child who did not enjoy benefits of true physiologic restful sleep and a poor sick child who suffered periods of oxygen deprivation during sleep. These two things can make your child exhibit ADHD-like symptoms when, in reality, the child does not really have ADHD but suffers from a sleep breathing disorder instead.

The challenge of diagnosing sleep apnea vs. ADHD in children

There is no denying that ADHD does exist, but determining the cause of the ADHD-like symptoms is important before a treatment plan is in place, especially when involving medications. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, from 2003-2007, cases of diagnosed ADHD rose about 22 percent. Does this statistic mean we are facing an epidemic or are some children being misdiagnosed? One issue with treating ADHD symptoms is that the medications can cause insomnia and could exacerbate a sleep disorder in a child.

The importance of proper sleep

Lack of sleep has a huge impact on the development of children and impacts them differently than adults. Sleep-deprived adults feel sluggish and tired, whereas children who did not receive proper rest are more likely to exhibit behaviors such as being wired, having mood swings, difficulty sitting still, focusing, or getting along with others. Unfortunately, some parents are not aware that the symptoms their child is experiencing are related to a sleep disorder and getting the child to experience the proper amount of good quality sleep is a challenge. If your child exhibits symptoms of ADHD, consider having a professional explore your child’s sleep.

Click here to learn more about the consequences of sleep loss.

How a sleep apnea dentist can help

If your child has a sleep breathing disorder like sleep apnea, you should seek the care of a sleep apnea dentist in Miami. Practitioners of sleep apnea dentistry know how to identify and treat problems with an airway and treat sleep apnea by addressing the airway issue that is causing the sleep breathing disorder and provide you with options to restore your child’s health.

Diagnosing and Treatment 

Our Miami sleep apnea dentists, Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Conchi Sanchez-Garcia, will recommend a sleep study and examine the data from that study to determine if a sleep breathing disorder exists. From there, treatment may involve prescribing a custom-made dental appliance that fits in your child’s mouth while they sleep to maintain an open airway and protect your child from suffering from the harmful effects of sleep apnea.

Treatment Options 

Find comfort in knowing that there are more options than just medications or those noisy, cumbersome machines to treat your child’s sleep apnea and prevent its harmful effects. The dentist’s treatment also will help properly align your child’s jaw and relax your child’s muscles of the face, neck, shoulders, and back. Properly aligning the jaw and relaxing muscles that would otherwise remain tense helps to open the airway so your child can breathe better, thus reducing or eliminating your child’s sleep apnea symptoms. If your child is experiencing symptoms similar to ADHD, consider a sleep study be conducted to determine if sleep apnea could be causing your child’s behavior.

Pediatric Sleep Apnea Treatment in Miami

Help your child start getting the restful sleep he or she desperately needs in order for proper physical, mental, and emotional growth. Take the next step and schedule a consultation at Miami Designer Smiles by calling (305) 595-4616.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to serve the sleep dentistry needs of patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables in Florida.