ARE YOUR KIDS HAVING TROUBLE SLEEPING?
Their Breathing Could Be to Blame
With a new school year approaching at the end of the month, it’s more important than ever that your kids are getting enough sleep. Sleep is the new kid on the block right now when it comes to medicine, and researchers are looking at it from every angle. Studies show that a good night’s rest is essential for people of all ages, but it’s absolutely crucial for young kids, who need a solid 10–13 hours for brain health, growth, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding illness, and improving their learning skills. In the classroom, sleepy kids tend to be more irritable, less productive, and earn lower grades than their well-rested peers. Many are wrongly diagnosed with ADHD and ADD. Your little ones’ symptoms may be subtle and very different from a sleepy adult. Things like restless sleep, unusual sleep positions (butt up in the air), snoring (very quiet … not like you or I would snore), night terrors, temper tantrums, poor coping skills, sleepwalking or getting out of their bed to come into yours, bed-wetting (enuresis), resisting going to bed, or trouble getting up in the morning for school can be symptoms of a larger problem, like a restricted airway, which affects sleep quality. Don’t ignore these symptoms and hope they go
away. Oxygen is critical to the growing brain and essential to restorative sleep. Any reduction will have an impact. Many people don’t realize the connection between the mouth and the quality of sleep they receive. The American Dental Association
now recommends that all children are screened for sleep disturbances
regularly with their regular dental check- up. Early intervention can have life-changing benefits and improve the quality of life. IQ scores have been shown to improve as well.
Identifying those early warning signs is the first step. When you bring your son or daughter in for an exam, I look at the whole oral picture. I examine how they’re swallowing, ask about allergies or habits like thumb or blanket sucking, review the sleep screening questions with you, and check whether they can breathe through their nose, what their bite is like, and if there is crowding with the baby teeth. If a problem is detected, you need to know all your options. I work with a team of specialists. They include EMTs, allergists, and myofunctional therapists to evaluate and treat tongue and muscle weakness while improving nasal breathing. These exam parameters for children are not mainstream yet, but they will be soon. The science and research are the driving force behind a paradigm shift in children’s dentistry. Studies on sleep have made it clear that dentistry is a powerful tool that can improve lives as well as smiles. If your child is struggling, call my office today at 262-970-0111 and set up an appointment before school starts. I’d love to help put them on track for success! -Dr. Janelle Ferber-Stumpf
W ant to L earn M ore ?
To find out more about the intersection of sleep, breathing, and dentistry, check out these resources: • The Stanford Sleep Medicine Center (StanfordHealthcare.org) • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAPPublications.org) • The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM.org) • The North American Association of Facial Orthotropics (Orthotropics-NA.org) • “Gasp!: Airway Health - The Hidden Path toWellness” by Dr. Michael Gelb and Dr. Howard Hindin
• 1 WWW.BESTCAREINTHECHAIR.COM
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