Don’t Ignore A Child’s Snore, According to Australian airway-focused dentist and author Dr Shereen Lim

  • PublishedDecember 6, 2022
Whilst many parents think a child’s snore is cute, it indicates a degree of restricted airflow, and mounting research links this to an increased risk of behavioural and learning difficulties ahead.

The increased resistance to airflow is associated with fragmented and nonrestorative sleep. In contrast to adults who may present with tiredness, fatigue or excessive daytime sleepiness, children who do not get quality sleep will tend to display symptoms of overtiredness, says Dr Shereen Lim, one of Australia’s first dentists to obtain a qualification in dental sleep medicine.  

They may have difficulties with attention, concentration, learning, emotional regulation, be prone to outbursts, or display symptoms of hyperactivity.  In some cases, symptoms may be indistinguishable from ADHD, and children are medicated without any investigation of underlying sleep and breathing problems. 

A sleeping child should breathe quietly, through their nose, with the lips sealed, and look still and restful. 

Night-time symptoms that warrant further assessment for airway problems include:

–  Mouth breathing
–  Snoring
–  Gasping or pauses in breathing
–  Restlessness
–  Neck hyperextension
–  Teeth grinding
–  Bedwetting
–  Frequent awakenings or night-terrors

In the past, the go-to treatment for snoring in children has been the surgical removal of enlarged adenoids and tonsils. This surgery can be effective in improving symptoms of disturbed breathing, and evidence supports that it can reduce ADHD symptoms in many children.

However, current research evaluating objective breathing and sleep data suggests that many children will not have a complete resolution of their breathing difficulties after this surgery.  This means they may still have significant symptoms and will still fall short of their potential.   In addition, many will have a recurrence of symptoms of poor sleep and breathing later in childhood.  

Complete resolution will involve an integrative team approach to precisely address each child’s combination of risk factors to restore nasal breathing day and night-time.   In addition to surgery, this can also include:

–  Orthodontic treatment, including palate expansion to remodel the nasal floor, improve nasal airflow, and tongue space
–  Allergy management to reduce inflammation and swelling within the upper airway
–  Myofunctional therapy to restore normal lip seal and tone of the tongue and other throat or upper airway muscles at rest or during swallowing, chewing and speaking
–  Tongue-tie management to help improve tongue mobility and facilitate better myofunctional therapy

Dr Shereen Lim has been involved in managing snoring and obstructive sleep apnea for over a decade.  Having seen families struggle with children with poor daytime function, falling short of their potential, and seeing the serious health consequences in adulthood when these issues are unaddressed in childhood, she is passionate about highlighting the developmental origins and red flags of poor airway development and dysfunctional breathing from infancy. 

Her book “Breathe, Sleep, Thrive:  Discover how airway health can unlock your child’s greater health, learning and potential” equips new and expectant parents with the awareness of key red flags of poor airway development, mouth breathing and other sleep-breathing disturbances and what they can do to promote nasal breathing and good airway development from infancy.

It will also help all parents understand the multiple opportunities and treatment pathways to restore nasal breathing, good jaw development and healthy airway muscle function when things have gone off track. 

Those who want to purchase the book may visit Amazon to get started. To find out more about Dr Shereen Lim and her integrative team approach to airway health for children, check out her website at www.drshereenlim.com.au or her Dr Shereen Lim Facebook Page

Media Contact
Company Name: Dr Shereen Lim
Contact Person: Shereen Lim
Email: Send Email
Phone: +61893002622
Address:Sparkle Dental 2/143 Grand Blvd Joondalup
State: Western Australia 6027
Country: Australia
Website: http://www.drshereenlim.com.au/

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