Bite and Breathing
WHATS BREATHING GOT TO DO WITH TEETH?...
..I hear you say. Everything as it is all connected, the nose, the jaws, the tongue, the teeth. If you can’t breathe through the nose, this opens the door to a lot of future problems including jaw development, orthodontics, allergies, sleep issues, tooth grinding, ADHD, poor school performance, obesity... the list goes on.
This is not standard dentistry stuff, and we are not your standard dentists! We’ll work closely with ENT specialists, osteopaths, orthodontists to diagnose and treat your bite and breathing problems.
LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING...
Often those people who present to us complaining of snoring are the poor partners, wives or husbands of snorers, who have put up with the freight train noises for years. Factors such as tiredness, being overweight, alcohol, play a big part in this but a huge component is the AIRWAY!
If the airway is narrow or blocked, there is more effort to breathe.
When sleeping, this is called Sleep-Disordered Breathing, in particular, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and can be a serious health risk.
SIGNS OF SLEEP DISORDERS
- Does your child snore or show signs of disturbed sleep?
- Do they mouth breathe?
- Do they grind their teeth?
- Do they stop breathing during sleep?
- These are signs of sleep apnea. Yes, it's more common in our little people, than we think.
Most children will grow out of this by age 9 approximately, but up to 10% won't! Studies have shown that as many as 25% of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may have symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. In addition, studies show a strong link between sleep disorders and childhood obesity, which itself has a risk of diabetes and heart disease later in life.
CAUSES OF SLEEP APNEA IN KIDS
- Small airways or large tonsils
- Adenoids (nose tonsils)
- Narrow jaws or small lower jaws
Childhood obesity can also add to this because of the fat around the neck can flatten the airway due to gravity during sleep.
HOW IS IT MANAGED IN KIDS?
Removal of the tonsils/adenoids, this may improve breathing and sleep dramatically, albeit it does not improve the size of the airways itself, just allows more air through.
We are ultimately looking for good nasal breathing that will facilitate good jaw and facial development, and making sure there is no future reoccurrence in adulthood. Nose breathing needs some training and habit-forming for the surgery to work. Sometimes we might suggest an expander for the top teeth to widen the top jaw. Why? Because the floor of the nose is the roof of the top jaw! Once this is widened, airflow through the nose is vastly improved.
ENCOURAGING GOOD SLEEPING HABITS
This is vital for kids :
- Get to bed at a reasonable hour each night, make it routine
- NO SCREENS IN THE BEDROOM!
- Make bedroom dark and calm
- No caffeine in the late afternoon, early evening, some warm milk is good instead
If you would like a consultation to discuss your child's sleep, bite or anything else, please contact us. (03) 9589 4472
Is your baby overly fussy when feeding?
Do you have sore nipples from feeding?
Is baby underweight?
If the answers to these are yes, then the issue with feeding may lie with the latch due to a tongue tie. This is when the tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth by a thick band of soft tissue under the tongue. The result.... the tongue is not free to move around as normal. So with breastfeeding, babies cannot form a good latch and nipple may not be placed deep into the baby's mouth. This is known as nipple feeding. Baby swallows a lot of air due to the poor latch and can become windy and irritable. Mum, of course, will experience painful nipples.
This is a common reason for mothers to give up breastfeeding if the ties are not correctly diagnosed.
SIGNS OF TONGUE TIES
Tongue maybe be notched or heart-shaped
Tongue can't extend beyond the baby's lips
Sore damaged nipples
Pointed nipple after feeding
A haematoma (or a suction stripe) along the length of the nipple
The baby may make a clicking sound when feeding
Poor weight gain
Dr Suzanne is not a specialist on breastfeeding so it is always advisable to seek medical attention from your paediatrician or lactation consultant if your baby is not gaining weight or if your are concerned. Some ties may not need to be released if all else is going well.
Even Dr Suzanne's daughter had her tongue tie released! Suzanne can assess for tongue ties and will refer to the correct specialist if deemed necessary.
If you have any questions or are unsure, call and book your little cherub in for an assessment.