Children's Sleep Disorders

Rest is essential for growth

It’s estimated that 30-40% of children are affected by sleep disorders before they reach school age, which can prevent them from getting the restful, restorative sleep that’s essential for growing brains and bodies. Poor quality of sleep is also a common cause of irritability, bad behaviour and poor academic performance in children.

Sleep disorders in children often go undiagnosed. This is because the most obvious symptoms happen at night when no one is watching and many daytime symptoms can be wrongly attributed to other causes. Younger children may not know how to explain what’s bothering them, making it harder for parents to take the right steps towards seeking help.

Ashfield Dental Centre is proud to provide support to children and parents who live with the effects of sleep disorders. Our team of experts is equipped to provide guidance and support in seeking a sleep disorder diagnosis and effective treatment to help your child get a restful night’s sleep.

Signs to look out for

During the day, you may notice that your child:

  • has problems in school
  • is often tired or drowsy
  • has a short attention span or poor memory
  • has frequent headaches
  • is hyperactive
  • tends to overeat
  • has difficulty falling asleep when they need to go to bed

While your child sleeps, you might notice that they:

  • breathe loudly in their sleep (as opposed to snoring)
  • sleep restlessly
  • sleep in strange positions
  • pause while breathing or gasp for air
  • sleepwalk, or have nightmares
  • experience night terrors or bed wetting

If your child also experiences behavioural or developmental disorders (such as ADHD or autism) you may also notice their condition worsening or not improving with recommended management techniques.

How dental care helps

Your dentist can help provide diagnosis and treatments for sleep disorders which affect your child’s teeth and airways. Since most people see their dentist more often than their GP (every six months, as opposed to only when needed), dentists are often the first medical professionals to notice the signs of sleep disorders and take action.

Your dentist can also help you to choose options for treating sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea and bruxism (teeth grinding), and can teach you and your child how to use them effectively.

Luckily, most children grow out of their sleep disorders eventually, and most adults don’t have them. However, some sleep disorders are lifelong and will need to be regularly assessed by a medical professional.

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