Being a parent is a tough job! In fact, it’s the hardest job of all. The moment you notice anything out of the ordinary with your child – whether it’s a sudden coughing frenzy, a sequence of sneezes, or abnormally loud snores – it can be pretty troubling.
When children are young and unable to communicate their experiences, symptoms like loud snoring can be even more concerning! Your experienced team at Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is here to help you find the right solutions for your child.
Here’s what you need to know if your teenager is snoring, or your infant or newborn is snoring!
What causes snoring?
When children snore, this is known as pediatric sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) – a general term to describe breathing difficulties during sleep.
There are a number of potential causes behind children snoring, including:
- Allergies: indoor allergies like pet dander, dust/mold, or outdoor seasonal allergies
- Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea: lack of oxygen due to narrow or blocked airways
- Dental conditions that block the airways: like crowded teeth, crooked teeth or narrow palates
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
Do enlarged tonsils cause snoring? They certainly can! This is the most common cause of disordered breathing during sleep. Swollen or infected adenoids (glands located in the back of the nasal cavity) can block the airways, making it more difficult to breathe during sleep.
Should I be concerned if my child or newborn is snoring?
It’s important to diagnose the cause behind snoring in order to determine whether it’s a cause for concern.
Newborn or infant snoring
If your newborn makes light noisy breathing sounds, this is likely normal! Newborns have smaller nasal passages, which can cause them to make noises while sleeping. Especially if they have a little extra mucus or dryness, this can cause noisy breathing.
Please reach out to your pediatrician if you’re concerned about your newborn snoring.
Light snoring may be normal in children as well. However, if you notice your child snoring loudly with lapses in breathing during sleep, it’s important that you visit your pediatrician as soon as possible. Sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that restricts oxygen to the brain, so it’s crucial to get this condition diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
You also want to rule out the possibility of other contributing health conditions, like allergies, asthma or enlarged tonsils. Visiting your pediatrician can help to ensure that there aren’t other conditions at play.
If you notice your child snoring, please let us know during their next dental check-up. We will examine their dental alignment to help determine whether their teeth or palate is contributing to their snoring. If so, we can help you and your child find the right solution!
Like children snoring, teenagers snoring may indicate a dental misalignment, a health condition like sleep apnea or allergies, or enlarged tonsils or adenomas. To rule out health conditions, visit your pediatrician or an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist if tonsils are the suspected cause.
Let us know during your teen’s routine dental exam and we examine their teeth to help pinpoint the cause of snoring.
Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea
Pediatric sleep apnea is dangerous and should be taken seriously. With this condition, a “child’s breathing is partially or completely blocked repeatedly during sleep.”
Because this disorder disrupts sleep regularly throughout the night, sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, poor performance in school, inability to concentrate, learning difficulties, hyperactivity and behavioral problems.
Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea should be brought to your pediatrician’s attention to find the right solution. Orthodontics may also be an effective treatment option.
Orthodontics as a potential treatment
Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is proud to partner with Blue Wave Orthodontics to ensure the highest quality of pediatric dental care in the area. If a dental misalignment or narrow palate is the cause behind your child’s snoring, we may recommend that you visit an orthodontist for an assessment.
Orthodontics can be effective for aligning the jaw bones, widening a narrow palate, straightening teeth and creating sufficient room in the mouth to open up the airways.
Still have questions about kids snoring?
We’re here to answer your questions and help connect you with solutions! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.
Dr. Sierra, Dr. Kwon, Dr. Patel and our team are here to help guide you and your child. We offer kinder, gentler dentistry for kids and teens. It is our goal that your child develops and maintains a positive association with dental care and we do everything we can to create a pleasant, supportive, and fun environment for our little patients.