Healthy Teeth = Healthy Sleep
This post was written by Naheed Ahmad, DMD, Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry at the Beloit Area Community Health Center.
Daylight savings time is right around the corner; which means an extra hour of sleep is awaiting everyone. We all know that a good night’s sleep is critical to the health and development of children. However, you may be surprised to know that your child’s next dental visit could tell you quite a bit about their sleep and breathing patterns.
Dentists are able to examine a mouth and see the telltale signs that your child is having problems breathing. Some signs that might tip off the dentist during an exam of your child’s teeth include:
- Large indents and cracks from the grinding of their teeth
- Baby teeth staying in longer than they should
- An open bite where your child’s front teeth do not touch all the way
- A child who has a hard time keeping their lips closed.
If the roof of the mouth is raised and narrow, the child could possibly not have enough room to breathe properly. Dentists are able to notice when your child is “mouth breathing” and not properly breathing through their nose.
In addition to the symptoms above, if you notice that your child snores at night or feels sleepy and unrested throughout the day, please be sure to discuss this with your dentist or pediatrician. You may be referred to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) where they can further evaluate these symptoms.
Breathing disorders have been associated with:
- Nighttime breathing problems
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Acid reflux in kids
Having any of these symptoms addressed can significantly improve your child’s quality of life; physically, mentally and emotionally. You may also see improved school performance, a decrease in headaches and nightmares and better focus and increase in the level of attention.