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Are there warning signs that a child is at risk for developing sleep apnea? Some research suggests that children with certain face shapes, narrowed jaws, and long faces may be at a greater risk for chronic health problems like sleep apnea. The belief is that these shapes interrupt a person’s breathing while they’re asleep because they compromise both nasal and mouth breathing.

sleep apnea

One study, published in the National Institutes of Health, found that facial morphology can influence obstructive sleep apnea. 

Does This Affect Children Specifically?

Facial morphology affects children’s breathing more so than other groups. Children’s jaws don’t typically develop fully until around age 16. Childhood is a time of growth spurts and development, and until children reach their later teenage years, their faces go through restructuring. 

On top of the physiological changes children go through during development, they establish habits and patterns during this time too. Those habits can include poor breathing and sleeping behaviors and affect them for the rest of their lives. 

What Are Some of the Early Signs of A Sleep Disorder?

One of the most critical parts of treatment is early diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible. Sleep disorders are no different. Identifying the early signs of sleep apnea can make a significant impact on the success of treatment. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and dentists can identify the potential for sleep apnea by recognizing these early warning signs:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Withdrawal
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Rule Breaking
  • Conduct Problems

Pay Attention and Work Together

Children are almost always under supervision while they’re growing up. Between home, school, extracurricular activities, and family and friend’s houses, children move around a lot, making it difficult to note potential warning signs. Working with your child’s teachers and doctors can go a long way in identifying potential health concerns.

These indicators don’t always signify a sleep disorder either. If you’ve noticed signs that your child may suffer from any of the items listed above, you should contact your pediatrician or pediatric dentist as soon as possible. 

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Pittsburgh, PA

Suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea can be life-changing. Dr. Firouzi at the Center for Exceptional Dentistry specializes in sleep apnea treatment in addition to neuromuscular dentistry, making his office an excellent resource for concerned parents. Visit our contact page here or call (412) 274-1126 today for more information.

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