Chronic Allergies And Asthma:
A compromised airway can make children more susceptible to allergies and asthma, which can cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Delayed Growth And Development:
A compromised airway can lead to delayed growth and development in children, both physically and mentally.
Mouth Breathing: Children with a compromised airway may breathe through their mouths instead of their noses, which can lead to dry mouth, bad breath, and dental problems.
Narrow Dental Arches: Mouth breathing can also lead to a narrow upper jaw, which can cause crowding and make it difficult for permanent teeth to come in properly.
Fatigue And Tiredness: Poor sleep quality can lead to daytime fatigue and tiredness, making it difficult for children to concentrate and perform well in school.
Behavioral Problems: Poor sleep quality and chronic fatigue can contribute to behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, irritability, and difficulty focusing.
Facial Development Anomalies: Improper development of the face and jaws can lead to facial deformities, such as a small chin or a receding jawline.
Speech Difficulties: Children with a compromised airway may have difficulty speaking clearly or pronouncing certain words.
It’s essential to address a compromised airway in children as early as possible. Children’s facial structures are still developing, which means they can be redirected to grow properly and prevent airway problems from getting worse or happening at all. By addressing the root cause of the problem, we can even reverse the issue if it’s severe. The younger we start the treatment, the better the chances of success.
Left untreated in childhood, a compromised airway can have significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of adolescents. By this age, the symptoms and conditions have progressed from childhood. Here are specific symptoms of how a compromised airway affects an adolescent:
Malocclusion (Misaligned Bite):
An improper bite can cause a range of issues, from difficulty chewing & speaking to chronic headaches and neck pain.
A compromised airway can contribute to malocclusion by affecting the growth and development of the teeth and jaws.
Tooth Grinding Or Clenching (Bruxism): Bruxism is a common dental problem that can be caused by stress or an abnormal bite. In adolescents with a compromised airway, it may be a symptom of a larger issue with their oral and facial development.
Hormonal Imbalances: Adolescents with a compromised airway may experience hormonal imbalances, such as an increase in cortisol levels, which can lead to weight gain, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.
Headaches And Migraines: Adolescents with a compromised airway may experience frequent headaches and migraines due to poor oxygenation and decreased blood flow to the brain.
Snoring And Sleep Apnea: Adolescents with a compromised airway may experience snoring, gasping, or choking during sleep, which can lead to sleep apnea and poor quality sleep.
Behavioral And Mood Changes: Adolescents with a compromised airway may experience changes in behavior and mood, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Chronic Fatigue: Poor sleep quality can cause daytime fatigue and tiredness, making it challenging to concentrate and perform well in school.
Jaw Pain And TMJ Problems:
A compromised airway can cause jaw pain, stiffness, and TMJ problems due to the misalignment of the jaw.
Dental Problems: A compromised airway can lead to dental problems such as crooked teeth, cavities, and gum disease.
Respiratory Problems: A compromised airway can lead to respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD): TMD refers to a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control it. Adults with a compromised airway may be more likely to develop TMD due to years of improper jaw alignment and muscle tension.
Gum Disease (Periodontitis): Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that can damage the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. A compromised airway can contribute to periodontitis by causing dry mouth and altering the oral microbiome.
Cardiovascular Disease: Adults with a compromised airway have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure.
Type 2 Diabetes: A compromised airway can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes due to the hormonal imbalances it causes.
Chronic Fatigue: Adults with a compromised airway often experience chronic fatigue, even after a full night’s sleep, which can significantly impact their quality of life.
Cognitive Decline: A compromised airway can lead to cognitive decline and an increased risk of developing dementia in later life.
Jaw Pain: Adults with a compromised airway may experience jaw pain due to the misalignment of their jaws caused by mouth breathing.
Migraine Headaches: Adults with a compromised airway may experience chronic migraine headaches, which can significantly impact their quality of life.
High Blood Pressure: A compromised airway can lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Acid Reflux: A compromised airway can lead to acid reflux, which can cause heartburn and damage to the esophagus.
Airway-focused treatments for adults can be transformative from a quality of life perspective. There are many options available. From oral appliance therapy to orthodontics to orthognathic surgery, there are solutions to improve airway health and reduce the risk of complications.