Last weekend, I read a book about our airway. As a population in general, there is a greater incident of airway obstruction over the last number of decades. Of course, the airway is necessary for us as humans to obtain the proper exchange of oxygen in order to keep the brain/heart perfused with oxygen. Any obstruction will affect the body's ability to obtain oxygen. This change has been attributed to a multitude of factors. One factor is our diet has changed over the decades. We now have a much softer diet, which over time has changed our jaw structure and size. This has caused changes to the sinuses and the tongue posture which in turn will affect the airway. Other factors are environmental (toxins), increase in obesity (especially in youth), and lack of exercise/play.
It is important to deal with airway problems, if possible, as early as possible. Therefore, any airway issue ideally should be identified and treated as a child. ADHD, allergies and asthma have all been linked to airway obstruction in children. Treating airway issues as a child will also help prevent potential sleep apnea as an adult.
Signs to look for in children are as follows:
- Mouth breathing
- Narrow/high palate
- Retruded lower jaw (push back)
- Tongue tied
- Night grinding
- forward head posture
- Slouching posture
Because the brain is developing rapidly in young children and proper oxygen is imperative, it is important to identify an airway obstruction as early as possible. Plus, a sleep issue as a child will likely develop into sleep apnea as an adult. Therefore, sleep apnea is preventable if treated early.
Until next month, keep smiling,Dr. Ian Gray and staff