Did you know that millions of people suffer from OSA-Obstructive Sleep Apnea?  It is estimated that 75% of the population suffer from this- kids as well as adults.  When you think of snoring  you think of older overweight people but children snore too!  I just had a 7 year old  that snored and ground his teeth severely.  Often this is due to how much air they get when they try to sleep.  The grinding is when they are trying to move the jaw forward to help open their airway and they snore because the muscles of the tongue and palate fall back and (in the case of young children-their tonsils and adenoids are large)close off their breathing.  Apnea is when you stop breathing completely and your brain has to wake you up to start breathing again and you don’t even know it is happening.

Treatment depends on how often you stop breathing- A test at night either in a clinic or a special home  test will let the doctor know how to help.  In the  case of the 7 year old I suspected Sleep apnea and referred Mom to the Doctor to check for this – He did have the problem and the solution in this case was to remove the Tonsils and Adenoids to give him room to breathe at night.  He grew 3 inches and did much better in school where he was a behavior problem before.

For an adult The CPAP  machine is the  most effective treatment. It is a forced air treatment .  Some people cannot get used to the machine and in that case a dental appliance that helps move the jaw forward when you sleep will help open  the airway and reduce the number of apneas.   Sleep Apnea can cause heart disease, stroke and heart attacks and they are 3 times more likely to be in a car accident due to daytime sleepiness!