Sleep talking, snoring and sleep apnea can be related to orthodontic issues that should be treated early to address health concerns. Our BC and Alberta orthodontists explain how these issues might be linked, and how early orthodontic assessment and intervention can help.
Sleep Talking in Children
Kids have curious, active minds that are learning new things every day and driving them to reach their potential. To keep it that way, our children need to get good rest - anywhere between 9 and 13 hours a night depending on age and unique circumstances - so they can be up, ready, productive and energetic for the next day.
However, at some point in their lifetimes many children will have problems with sleep, whether it's sleepwalking, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep talking or something else. Sleep talking happens while your child is unconscious and may occur in conjunction with snoring, sleepwalking or other symptoms.
While sleep talking can occur due to stress, a medical condition, too much sugar or other factors, if it occurs in conjunction with snoring and sleep apnea, your child may have an orthodontic or airway issue that could be corrected with early orthodontic intervention.
How Can Orthodontics Help?
You might not initially attribute your child's sleep talking, snoring and/or sleep apnea to an orthodontic issue, but these may be related. Airway issues and breathing problems while your child is asleep or awake can be caused by constricted airways or issues with jaw development.
With early intervention, we can conduct an initial assessment (which should happen by the time your child is 7 years old) to determine whether enlarged tonsils and adenoids are causing some of the issues, since with sleep apnea children can stop breathing several times per hour throughout the night.
While each case is unique, our orthodontists at myORTHODONTIST typically take a 2-phase orthodontic treatment approach starting in childhood, while the jaws are still developing and malleable. Early intervention treatment measures may include a palatal expander to gradually widen the upper jaw, helping your child to eat, chew and breathe more easily and creating more space in the mouth for adult teeth to emerge.
When it comes to sleep apnea and other issues with sleep in children, early treatment is important to address existing issues and avoid serious negative health impacts later in life, such as memory problems, headaches, obesity and even decreased lifespan.
While these problems are jarring to most parents, there is help. We can get started today by booking an early orthodontic assessment and developing a custom orthodontic treatment plan for your child.