Sleep-Disordered Breathing Linked to Children in Orthodontic Care


Researchers at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland have found a link between children in orthodontic care and sleep disorders. Children who experience interrupted sleep due to these disorders often tend to get hyperactive, may snore, breathe through the mouth during the day, or become easily distracted.

The study, “Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children Seeking Orthodontic Care,” published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, found that approximately 7% of children between ages 9 and 17 in orthodontic care were at high-risk for sleep-disordered breathing. The results were based on a questionnaire about sleep and symptoms completed by 303 children or their parents/caregivers.

Orthodontists are well positioned to recognize if a child’s facial development or jaw alignment are being affected by breathing problems and make a referral to a sleep specialist. Based on the literature, J. Martin Palomo, DDS, MSD, the study’s lead author and professor in the Department of Orthodontics at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, also believes that many children with sleep disorders are misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He says, ““I think it’s important to rule out sleep disorders before a patient is medicated for ADHD.”

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