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Lynda Dean-Duru, DDS
Sleep-Mouth Issues and Your Baby
Ashburn Children's Dentistry
. http://kidzsmile.com/

Sleep-Mouth Issues and Your Baby

Sleep-Mouth Issues and Your Baby

Did you know that breastfeeding affects how well your child’s face and jaws grow, and sets them up for good sleep?

You waited nine months for the arrival of your precious baby. But what happens if you find out you are experiencing excruciating pain during breastfeeding? After all, this powerful instinct is meant to help create the bond between mother and child. Mothers in this situation either power through, supplement with bottle feeding, or they give up altogether, only to suffer from mom guilt.

Many babies have restrictions that make it difficult, sometimes impossible, to breastfeed. Typically, these situations involve anatomic, functional, and sometimes neurological issues with the baby.

When babies are not able to easily breastfeed, this impacts the growth of their face and jaws. The tongue acts as a natural pump while breastfeeding and drives the development of the face, jaws, and airway. When tongue function is compromised, breastfeeding, breathing, sleep, and the growth of the face and jaws are adversely affected.

We are born as obligate nose breathers, which means that nature intended that our tongues lay on the roof of our mouth and that we breathe exclusively through our nose. Open mouth posture and subsequent mouth breathing, noisy breathing, snoring, frequent nose congestion, teeth grinding, allergies and sometimes asthma-like symptoms can occur in the absence of good nasal breathing and often lead to breathing-related sleep disorders.

As the baby grows, non-restorative sleep generally shows as restlessness, lack of focus, attention issues, anxiety, sensory issues, and other behavioral issues seen in many toddlers and young children. Often many of these children are misdiagnosed as having ADHD.

Other symptoms include:

  • Development of a narrow or long face
  • Gummy smile
  • Crooked teeth and misaligned jaws
  • Difficult toothbrushing and gagging
  • Sleeping with head and neck hyperextended or with “butt” in the air
  • Picky eating
  • Bedwetting beyond potty-training
  • Sleepwalking

If you notice any of these problems with your child, ask your pediatrician for a referral to a specialist or dental professional who is familiar and educated on the connection of sleep-mouth issues to overall health.

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