Children are more sensitive to breathing issues, as it is during these years that a significant portion of their development takes place. It is imperative that children are screened frequently for developmental changes that could negatively impact their lives.
If caught early, nearly ALL developmental alterations associated with breathing are completely reversible.
Normal Craniofacial growth is driven by a tough diet which promotes muscle development and proper bone growth. The increase in processed foods in our western culture has decreased the amount of chewing our children do at a young age. Therefore, the bone development does not reach its full potential. With the increased incidence of underdeveloped jaws, there is an increased incidence of malocclusion or crooked teeth. Today, over 80% of children are recommended to have orthodontic therapy due to underdeveloped jaws. The jaws not only house the teeth, but also the sinuses, the eyes, and the upper airway. All of these areas can be affected by underdeveloped jaws.
Signs of Underdeveloped Upper and Lower Jaws in Children:
Limited Spacing Between Baby Teeth
Forward Head Posture
Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Chapped Lips from Mouth Breathing
Many common childhood conditions can be linked to sleep disordered breathing due to underdeveloped jaws. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that is caused when soft tissue in the back of the throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway. As airflow stops, the oxygen level in your blood drops, causing your brain to kick start the breathing process. This is often accompanied by gasping or choking. Sleep apnea causes the sleep cycle to reset multiple times during the night. This not only affects how you feel when you wake up, but can also lead to other childhood health issues such as:
Asthma & Allergies
Nasal breathing, the preferred method of breathing, warms, filters, and the humidifies the air, thus decreasing the amount of irritants that enter the body. These irritants can lead to increased asthma and allergy symptoms. When mouth breathing occurs, there is an increase in the size of the adenoids and tonsils, further decreasing the functional airspace, and necessitating the need to mouth breathe. Mouth breathing can cause improper tongue posture which leads to an imbalanced muscular system within the oral cavity. This imbalanced system can cause a deformation of the jaws and lead to malocclusion.
75% of natural Human Growth Hormone, HGH, is released during the rest and repair portion of deep sleep. When a child is continually aroused by sleep disordered breathing, they do not reach this deep sleep and the natural HGH is not released. Without HGH a child will not grow at a normal pace.
ADD / ADHD
Medical studies have shown that if a room is filled with children who have either ADD/ADHD or sleep disordered breathing, it is impossible to distinguish between the two of them. In other words, both conditions exhibit the same symptoms. An unrested child, who has had years of poor sleep, can have trouble behaving, trouble learning in school and a diminished IQ.
A child suffering from sleep disordered breathing has periods of time during sleep where there is decreased oxygen in the blood. When the blood oxygen drops, the brain begins the fight or flight response, diverting necessary oxygen to essential body systems. It is at this juncture that oxygen may be diverted away from the urinary tract and it is possible that a child may wet the bed.
Maxillary expansion through appliance therapy can correct underdeveloped jaws improving crooked teeth and enlarging the functional airspace. The younger a child is when this issue is addressed, the healthier they will naturally grow and develop. This increases their chance of reaching their full potential for total body growth and brain development.