Sleep Apnea in Children: Everything our Monmouth And Ocean County Clients Need to Know

Brief pauses in breathing during sleep are normal. But when breathing stops often or for longer periods, it’s called sleep apnea. When someone has sleep apnea, oxygen levels in the body may fall and sleep can be disrupted. You might think that only older people have sleep apnea, but kids and teens can develop it, too. Dr. Young of Monmouth and Ocean County wants to keep you informed on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments of sleep apnea.


About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea happens when a person stops breathing during sleep (“apnea” comes from a Greek word meaning “without wind”). It is usually caused by something obstructing, or blocking, the upper airway. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

OSA is a common, serious condition that can make kids miss out on healthy, restful sleep. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to learning, behavior, growth, and heart problems. In very rare cases, it can even be life threatening.

Less commonly, sleep apnea can happen when someone doesn’t get enough oxygen during sleep because the brain doesn’t send signals to the muscles that control breathing. This is called central sleep apnea. Head injuries and other conditions that affect the brain increase the risk of developing this type of apnea, which mostly affects older adults.


When we sleep, our muscles relax. This includes the muscles in the back of the throat that help keep the airway open. In obstructive sleep apnea, these muscles can relax too much and collapse the airway, making it hard to breathe.

This is especially true if someone has enlarged tonsils or adenoids(germ-fighting tissues at the back of the nasal cavity), which can block the airway during sleep. In fact, enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the most common cause of OSA in kids.

Risk factors for the development of OSA include:

  • a family history of obstructive sleep apnea
  • being overweight
  • certain medical conditions, such as Down syndrome or cerebral palsy
  • defects in the structures of the mouth, jaw, or throat that can narrow the airway
  • a large neck (17 inches or more in circumference for men; 16 inches for women)
  • a large tongue, which can fall back and block the airway during sleep

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Do you suffer from Sleep Apnea?
Come see some of our solutions that can help!

Although sleep apnea is more uncommon in children than adults it should not be overlooked. However, what is more common in children less than perfect teeth. Voted as one of NJ Top Orthodontists, Dr. Young encourages parents to consider early orthodontic treatment and evaluation. Early orthodontic treatment gives the opportunity, when appropriate, to guide jaw growth, correct harmful habits, lower the risk of injury to protruded teeth, guide permanent teeth into more favorable conditions, and provide more space for the permanent teeth.

For more information on our sleep care services Call or email us today to set up your New Patient appointment for your evaluation.

Sleep Care Treatment Monmouth County, NJ

For our conveniently located Colts Neck, NJ office call 732–761–8300

Sleep Care Treatment Ocean County, NJ

For our conveniently located Brick NJ, office call 732–477–1600