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Airway Dentistry

Sleep Disordered Breathing: Recognizing the Signs and Treating the Root Cause

October 19, 2022

Imagine with me for a moment that this morning you woke up feeling simply awful. Before your feet even hit the floor, you feel completely out of sorts- you’re nauseous, you have a headache, and you feel lethargic. But you have no idea why you feel this way.

You get to work and the feeling escalates with each passing hour. You begin to feel frustrated and moody. Why is this happening? You wish you could ask someone for help, but you know you’d have a hard time articulating exactly how you’re feeling.

And then it happens again tomorrow morning. And the morning after. Your work begins to suffer, your relationships disintegrate, and your physical appearance begins to change with each morning that you wake up feeling awful. You begin to feel hopeless, and you have no solution because you don’t understand the problem.

It’s almost unimaginable, isn’t it? Except that it happens to millions of children and adults who silently and unknowingly suffer from a condition called Sleep Disordered Breathing.

Sleep Disordered Breathing is a common (but not normal) condition where oxygen flow is compromised during sleep due to one or more underlying root causes: mouth breathing, a narrow palate, a poor jaw relationship, or improper tongue placement.

When we don’t get enough oxygen while we sleep, our health suffers. Children with SDB exhibit signs of ADD/ADHD, wet the bed, grind their teeth to short stubs, get frequent ear and throat infections, have trouble focusing on tasks, struggle with speech issues… and the list goes on.

It is estimated that nine out of ten American children exhibit at least one symptom of Sleep Disordered Breathing. This statistic is alarming, yet eye-opening: if we know the root cause of this laundry list of symptoms that decrease our kids’ qualities of life, then we can find the solution to alleviate the pain points. Most of the time, mouth breathing, thumb-sucking or pacifier use, and enlarged tonsils contribute to poor quality sleep. So how do we stop this silent disease in its tracks?

Meet the Habit Corrector.

Photo from HealthyStart®

The HealthyStart Habit Corrector is a comfortable, metal-free appliance that opens the airway, expands the jaw bones, and allows for better, higher quality sleep. HealthyStart is a progressive system of mouth guards that helps position the tongue, cheeks, and lips for proper nasal breathing. Nasal breathing is the only healthy way to breathe, as it filters and warms the air from the outside before we bring it into our bodies. Children who wear this soft and flexible nighttime Habit Corrector appliance gain better sleep quality and wake up feeling better.

Airway issues like Sleep Disordered Breathing are multi-factorial and should be addressed by a provider with a trained eye. Left undiagnosed, children with Sleep Disordered Breathing are at a higher risk for both dental decay and lifelong, chronic illness. The HealthyStart Habit Corrector is a simple, non-invasive way to address a big problem, and most children could benefit from such an appliance. If you think your child suffers from one or more of the symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing, reach out to our office to set up an evaluation. A simple questionnaire and assessment of the mouth is all it takes to start your child on the path for a lifetime of health.

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omaha, Nebraska

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omaha, Nebraska

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