Did you know that up to 80% of disease symptoms are triggered by problems in the mouth? 

Many health problems like heart disease, dementia, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer have their roots in poor oral health. Science clearly reveals that gum disease can raise your risk of hypertension and a fatal heart attack or stroke. Now you may be thinking, I’m fine. I brush and floss every day, and I go to the dentist on a regular basis, but you could still have chronic infections, or toxicity in the mouth, that is slowly poisoning the rest of your body. 

This is not a subject that gets discussed enough in my option. We are finally making the connection, which is why you are going to start hearing about it more and more. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently did a study regarding those who suffer from gum disease. The study confirmed that 47.2 percent of adults in the U.S., who are over the age of 30, have the advanced form of periodontal disease, or gum disease. totaling 64.7 million people, have gum disease that could be characterized as mild, moderate or severe. In adults who are 65 or older, the rate of gum disease rises to 70.1 percent. 

When you include gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums, over 80% of U.S. adults suffer from some degree of gum disease, making it one of the most common diseases in America. 

Approximately 73 percent of children under six and 11 are affected by gingivitis in the US. Gingivitis is the prime cause of gum inflammation in response to dental plaque accumulating along the gum line. The inflammation affects the surrounding tissue and the teeth.

Gingivitis is the precursor to gum disease, and it’s often marked by red, swollen gums, and slight bleeding when your child brushes or flosses. Gum disease is more aggressive in children with poor oral hygiene.

Dental cavities (also known as caries or decay) is the most common chronic disease in children: it is about 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever. Common does not mean normal.

Dental disease is also preventable. Yet, about 1 of 5 children aged 5-11 has at least one untreated tooth with decay. 

The argument most parents make is, “Well, they’re just baby teeth. They’re going to lose them anyway.” While they will lose these teeth eventually, losing them early can lead to future problems. When children lose these teeth early due to large cavities, it is very possible that their adult teeth will not come into the correct spot. This is because the adult tooth needs the baby tooth to be present to save space and to guide the tooth to where it needs to go. This can then lead to very severe crowding and a need for braces, which not all families can afford. This becomes a fairly expensive treatment for something that was preventable (the cavities) from the start. 

Did you know that children with poor oral health miss more school and have lower grades than children who don’t have cavities?

 On average, children miss more than 51 million school hours per year due to illnesses related to dental problems. 

They also have many difficulties focusing when they are experiencing tooth pain, which can lead to lower success in the classroom. Dental cavities also increase the risk for other health problems.

This has become a national crisis. 

 Oral health care is part of overall health care. Oral health education is very much lacking, especially early on in a child’s life. A great opportunity is to begin the oral health discussion with parents even before the child is born.

There is evidence that the Moms oral health status and oral hygiene practice has a significant influence on a child’s general and oral health.

The risk for an infant to get cavities strongly goes hand in hand with the mother having high amounts of cavity-causing bacteria, which can then be transmitted to the infant. We know these things, yet there is little early education given on this topic.

Babies are actually born without any harmful bacteria in their mouth

While there’s no “quick fix” for dental disease, it does not happen overnight, you have the power to form habits that will protect your oral health in the long run.

What Causes Gingivitis?

In order to cure gingivitis, it’s important to understand what causes it in the first place.

Gingivitis (and many other oral health problems) are caused by an invisible film of bacteria called plaque that lives inside the mouth. These bacteria love to feed on the sugary particles left behind on your teeth and gums. In turn, they produce an acid that erodes your enamel and attacks your gums.

When too much bacteria builds up inside your mouth, you’re more likely to have gums that are inflamed and sore. You may have also noticed that your gums bleed while flossing. These are all symptoms of gum disease.

How Do You Cure Gingivitis

It may seem too simple, by removing plaque and tartar buildup so your gums have a chance to recover. 

Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush around each tooth. Brushing too hard will wear away your enamel. But you also want to make sure that you’re brushing for at least 2 minutes at a time. That way, you’re cleaning every nook and cranny inside your mouth.

We recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day so plaque doesn’t have the opportunity to build up in between meals. You should especially brush your teeth before going to bed. Otherwise, you’re giving dental plaque the opportunity to attack your teeth and gums while you’re asleep.

Floss Your Teeth Once a Day

Plaque loves to hide in between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing around each individual tooth will remove this dental plaque so you don’t develop cavities in between teeth. It’ll also help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria irritate and attack your gums unless you brush and floss consistently. We recommend that you floss your teeth once a day.

Oral Health is about more than Brushing and flossing; they are just pieces of the puzzle.

Diet, Ph, Water Oxygen, Sleep and Breathing are all pieces we must consider.

When Your Child Can’t Breathe, They Can’t Sleep

People often say about children “look how cute they look when they’re sleeping.” Unfortunately, some children don’t get to enjoy this level of sleep because they can’t breathe during sleep. 

Pediatric sleep-disordered breathing can turn a child’s night from a peaceful dream into a fight for breath and oxygen. 

This fight can leave them exhausted during the day with little energy for learning or playing. In the long term, this fight or flight they are experiencing can also cause major disruptions to their health and growth.

Fortunately, sleep-breathing disorders are treatable. There are many treatment options that can give your children the rest they need to grow and enjoy their childhood. 

What Is Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing?

Pediatric sleep-disordered breathing describes a condition where a child is unable to breathe easily at night. This prevents them from getting the oxygen they need to function. As we’ll talk about more later, the severity of the disruption can range from a “cute” snoring sound to a life-threatening stoppage of breath.

More than a quarter of all children may suffer from some type of pediatric breathing, with up to 5% having the severe form, sleep apnea.

The Types Of Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing

Although all types of pediatric sleep-disordered breathing interfere with a child’s breathing, they have numerous causes and severities. Knowing the types and terms used to describe them can help you talk about your child’s condition with a dentist or physician.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central sleep apnea occurs when the part of the brain that is supposed to control breathing doesn’t work properly. It is most common in infants, especially premature babies whose brains may not be fully formed yet. However, brain injuries and certain types of brain malformations can cause this as well.

Obstructive Sleep Disordered Breathing

Most children have what is known as obstructive sleep-disordered breathing. In this condition, something is obstructing a child’s airway, making it hard, even impossible, for them to breathe.

What causes a blocked airway?

The source of blockage can vary. These are common sources of obstruction.

  • The Tongue position
  • Tethered tissues or tongue tie
  • Enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, 
  • Fat deposits on the neck
  • Allergies


Most doctors and dentists talk about obstructive sleep-disordered breathing as either snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which has dangerous stoppages in breathing.

However, others emphasize that the condition is a continuum, and may identify the following points along the continuum, from least to most severe:

  • Snoring
  • Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS)
  • Obstructive hypopnea
  • OSA


Although many doctors use UARS as an independent diagnosis for adults, most have transitioned to folding the condition into OSA. Some doctors describe obstructive hypopnea as a condition that creates low-oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels in the body without evidence of full obstruction. However, as with UARS, most doctors prefer to describe obstructive hypopnea as part of OSA.

Diagnosing And Treating Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing

Most parents and caregivers begin to suspect pediatric sleep-disordered breathing because of common symptoms, such as:

  • Snoring
  • Bed-wetting
  • Sleep terrors
  • Poor school performance
  • Low energy
  • Learning challenges
  • Behavioral problems
  • Failure to grow
  • Unhealthy weight gain
  • “Hyperactivity” including diagnosed ADHD


As with sleep apnea among adults, it’s not usually considered enough to identify the symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing

Instead, a child will be diagnosed with a sleep study (polysomnography, sometimes abbreviated PSG).

How do you know if your child would benefit from talking to a doctor or dentist about a sleep study?

Take the ASAP Pathway screening quiz.


If your child is diagnosed with sleep-disordered breathing, the treatment options vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. They might include:

  • Myofunctional Therapy
  • Oral Appliances
  • Orthodintics
  • Medication
  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
  • Surgery


Types Of Sleep Disordered Breathing Treatment

The common options used for treating pediatric sleep-disordered breathing include:

  • Surgery
  • CPAP
  • Appliance therapy
  • Myofunctional therapy
  • Orthodontics and/or orthopedics



Adenotonsillectomy surgery used to be the main treatment option for pediatric sleep-disordered breathing. Removing the adenoids and/or tonsils can open up a child’s airway to improve breathing. However, this treatment option has fallen into less favor because it comes with potentially serious risks that might not be justified for your child’s condition.

Pediatric CPAP

Pediatric CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) uses a pump to force air through a hose and into a mask worn by your child. This air creates pressure in the child’s airway, holding it open.

Appliance Therapy

Appliance therapy holds the jaw in a particular position to keep the airway open. Appliance therapy for children also encourages the growth and development of the jaw and airway. We want to address jaw development that is still in progress. The hope is that we can encourage growth in a way that doesn’t just treat breathing problems, but actually cures them.

Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional Therapy uses exercises to help your child establish positive habits in how they use their tongue and other muscles of the face and neck. Repeated muscle action and pressure can reshape the airway over time, acting as a true cure for sleep apnea. It can also encourage the development of the jaws, improving the function and appearance of your child’s jaws.

Orthodontics And/Or Orthopedics

Orthodontics or orthopedics can also address some of the developmental and structural issues that cause or contribute to breathing problems in children. In addition to straightening teeth for a better smile, orthodontics can reshape the jaw and therefore the airway to improve breathing and potentially cure breathing problems.

Recognize And Respond To Serious Airway Issues In Children

Whether you’re a parent or a caregiver, you work hard to keep a close eye on children during their every waking moment. When they sleep, you might let yourself rest for a while, just taking a quick peek in to make sure they are sleeping peacefully and not staying up too late with a book or game system under their blankets. 

However, during their sleep, children may experience a serious health problem that can affect them all day, and possibly all their lives.

We need to be vigilant of these dangerous, even deadly sleep problems, which is where Airway and Sleep. We believe that getting good sleep is an essential foundation to growing up healthy and happy, which is every child’s right.

Parents and caregivers are in the best position to identify sleep-related problems in children. But in order to be able to do this, they need to know what they are looking for and its potential dangers, how to identify it by its symptoms, and how it can be treated.

The goal is to bring in as many professionals as necessary to achieve optimal results for a child’s health and happiness.

Don’t Wait To Get Help

Every night a child suffers from sleep-disordered breathing that can cause damage to their body. The sooner your child gets treatment, the sooner they will start to mature and grow to their full ability.

IMPORTANT: There is a narrow window of opportunity to reverse cavities and gum disease. Once they progress into the later stages of the disease, you won’t be able to reverse the condition. Instead, you’ll only be able to manage some of the symptoms without invasive and costly treatments.

Find The Best Treatment For Your Child’s Breathing

If your child has sleep-disordered breathing, it’s important to get treatment sooner rather than later. 

Contact me Schedule a free 15 minute call https://shereewertz.com/work-with-me

Or contact a local ASAP Pathway dentist to learn what’s the best treatment for your child.


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