Sleep Apnoea In Children

Why Snoring In Children Should Never Be Ignored

Snoring in children is the clearest symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea in children, a condition which presents differently in children when compared to adults. Even though sleep apnoea affects middle-aged men more than any other demographic, it is often undetected amongst children. And that’s quite surprising when you consider that between 3 and 12% of children snore, and 1-3% of children have obstructive sleep apnoea.


If your child is going for dental checkups every six months, your family dentist probably has the best opportunities to inspect and screen your child for sleep apnoea.


What Are The Causes Of Sleep Apnoea In Children?

Sleep apnoea is common in children who have swollen, infected tonsils and adenoids, but it may also be caused by allergies and developmental defects.


Examples of developmental defects may include

  • Narrow air passages
  • Low muscle tone in the mouth or upper airway
  • Under-developed maxilla (upper jaw)

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnoea In Children?

The symptoms of sleep apnoea in children may present slightly differently to adults. Adults tend to put weight on because of the hormone fluctuations that take place. By contrast, children are more likely to present with poor physical development and may struggle to put weight on.


Some common symptoms of sleep apnoea in children include

  • Sleepiness and fatigue during the day
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Concentration problems
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Short or poor attention span
  • Wetting the bed
  • Issues with behaviour
  • Poor physical development and difficulty with weight gain

As you may have observed many of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, or may have been misdiagnosed in the past. A thorough examination and monitoring is required to ensure an accurate diagnosis is made, and a sound treatment plan is developed. Managing sleep apnoea early on can help to prevent the development of chronic health conditions later in life.


To find out more about treatment options or screening for sleep apnoea in children, please contact our practice for the most convenient appointment: (011) 483 2281

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