HOW SNORING AFFECTS A CHILD'S BRAIN

Updated: Oct 26

Snoring can cause structural changes in a child's brain, which can cause a range of behavioral and health issues. According to a study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, these changes can include a lack of focus, hyperactivity, ADHD, learning difficulties, and a lower IQ of up to 10 points.

How snoring impacts a child's brain

The study found that chronic snorers, those children that snore more than three times per week, were likely to have thinner gray matter in the front lobes of the brain. The frontal lobes are the areas responsible for higher reasoning skills and impulse control.


The study found that many of the thinner cortexes in these regions were associated with sleep-disordered breathing.


WHAT CAUSES SNORING IN CHILDREN?


While some might think it cute, snoring in children is not normal and can be a sign of something dangerously wrong with a child's health. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 25-50% of school-aged children experience sleep issues.


Nearly 1 in 3 children snore occasionally, studies suggest, but most of these cases don’t rise to the level of being problematic. However, as many as10-12% of kids have potentially more serious snoring issues.


Adults and children share the same principles when it comes to the causes of snoring. We relax the muscles that support our airways and tongue when we fall asleep. The result is that the tongue falls back into the throat, reducing the amount of air in the throat, and resulting in a child snoring.


Regeneration and rejuvenation take place during sleep. In children who are rapidly growing, the body is resetting and rebuilding all of its processes at this time. Children who don't get enough oxygen to their brains during sleep may suffer neurological impacts.


A child dealing with a sleep deficiency will typically display one or more of the following symptoms:


  • Moodiness and irritability

  • Temper tantrums in younger children or unreasonable outbursts in older children

  • The tendency to emotionally 'explode' at the slightest provocation

  • Over-activity and hyperactive behavior

  • Daytime naps are required on a daily basis

  • Grogginess when they wake up in the morning

  • Reluctance to get out of bed in the morning

  • Sleepwalking and sleeptalking

  • Higher levels of anxiety or stress

  • Chronically waking up with a headache and/or dry mouth

  • Mouth breathing throughout the day



CAN DENTAL HEALTH CONTRIBUTE TO A CHILD SNORING?


The short answer is yes! While there may be other factors, one of the things a snoring child indicates is that the child's mouth hasn't fully developed the way it should.


As well as containing teeth, tongues, and other soft tissues, the oral cavity also houses the upper airways of the nose and throat. Crooked, cramped teeth indicate the jawbone has not grown properly and the airways may also be restricted in a child with crooked, cramped teeth.


kid's SLEEP HEALTH GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS


Poor sleep hygiene can be caused by a number of factors, including undiagnosed airway disorders.


If, after adjusting your bedtime and sleep child's habits to foster healthier sleep hygiene your child is still having issues sleeping, consult your pediatrician or airway dentist. It is possible that your child is suffering from an undiagnosed airway disorder.



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