This Is One Dangerous Thing to Look for When Your Kid Is Sleeping

“No one in my 12 years of parenting ever told me any of this. All the signs were there, right in front of our eyes, and I had no clue.”
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By Stephanie Grassullo, Associate Editor
Updated October 31, 2018
child sleeping with mouth open
Image: Quintanilla/Shutterstock

“I’m going to tell you something you need to know, that you have probably never heard…There is a huge red flag in the picture I am sharing with this story.”

Melody Yazdani left this note on Facebook sharing a picture and viral explanation on why kids should not be doing this one thing.

“Children should not breathe through their mouths. Not while awake, not while asleep,” she says.

She came to this revelation after her son, Kian, struggled with problems at home and in school for many years and was being tested for ADHD. While at one of the countless doctor visits, a dentist noticed something strange about her son’s teeth and asked whether he grinds them at night. That’s when the light bulb went off.

“I stumbled upon an article that changed our life. The article was about the connection between ADHD, sleep disordered breathing and mouth breathing. Every word in this article sounded like Kian,” she explains.

This led Yazdani to come across a wealth of research, where she learned some life-changing information:

  • Mouth breathing is not normal and has long-term consequences for health. When a child breathes through their mouth, their brain and body is not getting enough oxygen. At night, this lowered oxygen saturation is detrimental to the quality of sleep and their brain’s ability to get enough rest.
  • When the mouth is open, the tongue cannot rest in the correct place. Over time this can lead to incorrect development of the upper jaw, a recessed lower jaw, speech problems and misaligned teeth.
  • When sleeping, the recessed jaw can also cut off the airway completely and contribute to sleep apnea in children. To compensate, the body wakes the child and pushes the jaw forward, resulting in disrupted sleep cycles and grinding.

Perhaps the most important finding for the frustrated mom: “Sleep deprivation in children and ADHD exhibit the same symptoms, the exact same symptoms.”

Luckily, after these findings, they were able to better treat Kian, who was diagnosed with sleep apnea and sinusitis. They’re still in the beginning phases of treating the 8-year-old boy, but the mother is confident they are going down the right path this time.

“We have seen a complete 180 in behavior. No more angry tantrums, no more fixation on little OCD things—it has been an enormous change,” she happily shares. “No behavior reports in school; his appetite has exploded; he’s no longer a picky eater; and he had a huge growth spurt two weeks after the surgery.”

“If we see this much of a change now, I can only imagine how much it will improve once we cross the finish line,” Yazdani happily relays.

The mother hopes by sharing her story, she’ll alert other parents to the key signs she had no idea she should be looking for.

“No one in my 12 years of parenting ever told me any of this. All the signs were there, right in front of our eyes, and I had no clue…And not until we had tangible proof with sleep study results and sinus imaging did anyone believe [us]. I had to find this, diagnose this, and push for treatment myself,” she explains.

If your child shows any of these signs, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor. As Yazdani says, “it may just change your life.”

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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