I recently had the good pleasure of interviewing Dr. Nick Douvis, a colleague and friend of mine who has had a special interest in childhood sleep apnea for the last 19 years. You can watch the full interview above.
If you’d rather read, then here are a few of the take home points:
1) Airway is KING. Anything that affects the airway negatively can increase the risk for sleep apnea in children.
-Tonsils and Adenoids - enlarged tonsils and adenoids will narrow the airway.
-Mouth Breathing - breathing through the mouth can lead to an underdeveloped nasal airway, a narrower palate, and other issues in growth and development.
-Tongue Ties - problems rarely have isolated effects. In english, I mean that just because a tongue tie only physically affects the tongue, doesn’t mean it won’t indirectly affect other parts of the mouth. According to Dr. Douvis, tongue ties can affect jaw development, thereby affecting airway development, and can potentially increase the risk for sleep apnea in children if not death with.
2) Could a bad airway and lack of oxygen at night cause behaviour issues previously attributed to ADHD?
-Like anything in medicine, it can be very difficult to ascertain cause and effect.
-However, there are case studies that suggest behaviour issues could be tied to a lack of a good night’s sleep, especially when the problem is of a chronic nature (such as in Childhood Sleep Apnea)
-More research needs to be done to confirm this.
3) What should you do if you hear your child snoring?
-Seek out the opinion of a dentist well-versed in sleep apnea.
-Make sure your child’s allergies are under control.
-Discern whether it’s a consistent problem, or just something happens once in a while (e.g. when sick)
Truly, my discussion with Dr. Nick is much more comprehensive than these meagre bullet points, so I’d suggest you go check the video out when you have 20 minutes to spare :)
Thanks for tuning in!