Effects of Sleep Disorders in Children

Effects of Sleep Disorders in Children with Dr. Mark Burhenne

In this episode of The Functional Medicine Radio Show, Dr. Carri’s special guest Dr. Mark Burhenne explains the effects of sleep disorders in children.

Dr. Burhenne is the creator and author of AsktheDentist.com and the bestselling author of “The 8-Hour Sleep Paradox”. He is a family and sleep medicine dentist, member of the American Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM).

Main Questions Asked:

  • Why should parents be concerned with their children’s sleep and the structure of their facial bones?
  • Would ADD or ADHD be considered a sign of a breathing issue?
  • Once an issue is seen in a child, what is the parent’s next step?
  • What are some of things that influence facial development?
  • Do all dentists know about this?

Key Points Made by Dr. Burhenne:

  • Everyone is susceptible to compromised breathing, including children who seemingly don’t have any reasons to suffer from it.
  • Sleep disorders and breathing issues develop during our formative years when we are young, potentially prenatally and are directly related to the growth of the shape of the skull.
  • Look at the lip posture of your children while sleeping. Are they a nose breather or a mouth breather? Sleep disorders in children often manifest as mouth breathing and are an early sign that your child needs help.
  • Behavior is another indicator. Erratic behavior and the desire for sugar are bad signs. Snoring, which is often seen as cute by many parents, is actually a sign that they are having difficulty sleeping and need to be seen by a professional.
  • Every person needs to have their sleep verified. You can do everything else perfectly but if you’re not sleeping well, none of it will matter.
  • Snoring is never normal, it is a partial collapse of the airway but not snoring doesn’t necessarily mean everything is ok. Your airway can be so constricted that you’re unable to snore.
  • ADD and ADHD do indicate that there are breathing issues present, but it needs to be dealt with early on. Often times once the child is diagnosed, it is too late to intervene.
  • Every night a child mouth breathes affects the development of their face. There is a new product on the market that now allows you to run an assessment at home instead of a sleep study in a lab. Dr. Burhenne recommends running the assessment at least once a year until the child is 15.
  • Speech came at the cost of breathing. All of the structures in the face and neck have evolved for speech and generally moved closer together. A variety of foods, bottle feeding, and many things in our environment create allergies that then make us congested. The muscle development in the face is changing and making it more difficult to breath, but it could be turned around in the course of a generation.
  • The high number of the population that requires braces is an indicator that we are developing incorrectly as a society.
  • The information is out there, but there are many dentists who haven’t seen it. You have to bring the information yourself and find a dentist who understands what to do with it.

Resources Mentioned:

Podcast – Ways to Help Sleep with Dr. Mark Burhenne

Book – The 8-Hour Sleep Paradox: How We Are Sleeping Our Way to Fatigue, Disease and Unhappiness

Knit Health – At Home Sleep Assessment

Tongue Tie article

Dr. Burhenne’s website

Book – Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again

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