January 1, 2019
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes frequent pauses in breathing throughout the night, which most often results from an obstruction in the airway. Although it is commonly believed to only affect adults, children can suffer from the sleep disorder as well. In fact, 1% to 10% of children have it. While many have mild symptoms and will outgrow it, others live with long-term consequences. In some cases, it is the result of an underlying condition. New research shows a leading cause of sleep apnea in Weatherford could be caused by tongue-tie.
What is Tongue-Tie?
Tongue-tie is a defect present at birth. It results when there is thick, tight, or a short string of tissue underneath the tongue that restricts its movement and functions. The tethered oral tissue occurs in roughly 4% to 10% of the population; however, some research indicates the prevalence to be as high as 32% of infants.
It is best to have the issue treated as quickly as possible because the limited movement of the tongue can lead to a variety of complications, such as difficulty nursing, speaking complications, and sleep problems. It is common for it to cause exacerbated mouth breathing.
Mouth breathing can lead to new issues as it prevents the brain from reaching adequate levels of sleep. Over time, this can result in excessive daytime fatigue, irritability, and a decrease in cognitive abilities.
Tongue-Tie and Sleep Apnea
There is a direct correlation between tongue-tie and sleep apnea. Poor nasal breathing and upper airway resistance is often the result of a smaller-than-normal nasal cavity, high arched palate, or a deviated septum. All 3 issues can develop when there is not enough pressure from the tongue against the palate while in utero or during infancy.
When the tongue is tethered, it does not develop a natural resting pressure, creating less room at the base of the nose and decreased volume in the nasal cavity. This causes airway issues in infancy that can also increase in severity into childhood and even adulthood. Correcting the tongue-tie can prevent the airway obstructions to reduce the likeliness of sleep apnea developing in the future.
Treating tongue-tie involves a procedure called a frenotomy. A cut is made into the tissue to improve the function and mobility of the tongue. It is best to have it corrected in infancy; however, it is never too late to undergo the procedure.
Breathe Easier Today!
Whether you or your child have developed sleep complications from a tongue-tie, there is an effective solution to breathe easier. Your sleep specialist creates a customized treatment plan to improve breathing to sleep better.
About Dr. Deborah A. Romack
Dr. Deborah A. Romack is supported by extensive qualifications in a variety of advanced services, including sleep apnea. She has attended numerous continuing education courses related to airway obstructions, sleep apnea, snoring, and upper airway resistance syndrome. She provides the solutions you need to protect your health and your quality of life. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
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