What Is Sleep Disordered Breathing And Why Am I Just Learning About It?

Posted Sep 27th, 2016 in Parents Corner

What Is Sleep Disordered Breathing And Why Am I Just Learning About It?

It has been estimated that 9 out of 10 children struggle with one or more symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). At Toddlers to Teen Dental in Winnipeg, The Pacific Pediatric Sleep Wellness Centre is dedicated to offering treatment options for children effected by this condition. 


By: Dr. Mel McManus, Pediatric Dentist 

What is sleep-disordered breathing?

Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a spectrum of breathing difficulties that occur during sleep, and is linked to a number of effects on a child’s development and behaviour. SDB ranges from loud snoring to partial or complete blockages in the airway during sleep (known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea). The impact of SDB varies depending on the severity of the blockage or disruption.

What does this mean for my child?

When breathing is disrupted during sleep, the brain believes it is choking and is not receiving the proper flow of oxygen. The body reacts by reducing your child’s heart rate, raising blood pressure, arousing the brain, and disrupting overall sleep. Children with SDB are not having the necessary deep sleeps that are required for full, healthy development.

If you answer ‘yes’ to the following symptoms, your child could be experiencing the effects of sleep-disordered breathing:

  • Frequent, loud snoring
  • Gasping or snorting
  • Thrashing in bed
  • Unexplained bedwetting.

Many of these physical symptoms can lead to other emotional symptoms, including mood, behavioural or academic problems in combination with the breathing issues.

Both physical and emotional symptoms stem from one root cause – sleep-disordered breathing, or the lack of oxygen in the blood stream. The Healthy Start System helps open the airway in your child, allowing for adequate oxygen flow in their blood stream and a deeper and more restful sleep.

Why have I never heard of sleep-disordered breathing?

SDB is a relatively new phenomenon and can be challenging for physicians to determine. Emotional and behavioural issues are often misdiagnosed as mood disorders or hormonal imbalances, and, historically, mild snoring was not typically seen as a serious problem in children or teens.

Recent developments have discovered the serious impacts of SDB, and how blocking proper oxygen flow in the bloodstream directly impacts brain development, behaviour and emotions in children.

How can we help?

Dr. McManus and the team at Pacific Pediatric Sleep Wellness Centre are proud to offer the Healthy Start program to children in Canada, which is designed to use natural and non-surgical mechanisms to restructure your child’s airway, promote correct development of the dental arches, and reverse the symptoms experienced by SDB.

The Healthy Start program is also designed to be a pre-orthodontic treatment and supports the growth of straight teeth and properly developed palates for your child. Children with SDB who are involved in Healthy Start are are less likely to require braces later on, as the system helps guides incoming permanent teeth while promoting proper facial development.

To learn more about the Healthy Start Program visit our website or ask to speak to a member of our team directly.