My toddler’s snoring — Should I be worried?

Learn the possible reasons behind the condition that is robbing your sweetie (and you) of precious Zzzs…

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If you think your cherub isn’t as capable of producing the loud and grating snores your hubby does — think again. Dr Kenny Pang, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist with Asia Sleep Centre, notes that from his experience, snoring is fairly common among toddlers aged 1 to 5.

Snoring happens when there is a blockage in your sweetie’s airways, which restricts the flow of air through his nose and throat. The air from the obstruction in his throat gives rise to vibrations, which results in the sounds you hear.

By the way, Dr Pang notes that a child’s snoring can be attributed to respiratory infections he sustains when he is sick. His snoring could also be due to genetic conditions like a small jaw or a deviated septum. The last cause ― sleep apnoea ― can even disrupt his sleep. As a result, he may display behavioural changes during the day — appearing moody, lethargic and is unable to remain attentive in school.

Sleep apnoea ― can even disrupt his sleep. As a result, he may display behavioural changes during the day — appearing moody, lethargic and is unable to remain attentive in school.

Therefore, Dr Pang stresses that you should seek help from a child sleep or ENT specialist as soon as your child starts to snore. He details the possible reasons for your child’s snoring:

1) Deviated septum

WHAT The nasal septum is the bone and cartilage that divides the inside of your nose in half. In some children, this bone may be crooked at the end or develops in the wrong position, which results in the breathing passages being of unequal size. This affects the flow of air into their respiratory system.

SOLUTION Sometimes, medication will be enough to relieve the symptoms associated with a deviated septum. Or the specialist may suggest that your kiddo get a surgical procedure — septoplasty — to correct the crooked septum to improve his breathing.

2) Small jaw

WHAT Most people’s upper jaw — also called the maxilla — and lower jaw — called mandible — are well aligned. For individuals with a small jaw (also known as retrognathia), the abnormally small mandible is set back as compared to the position of their maxilla. While genetics is the most common cause, it could also be caused by jaw trauma sustained early in the child’s development. Because of the jaw’s position, it can cause the tongue to recede, thus obstructing the airways.

SOLUTION Orthodontic treatment in the form of wearing special headgear to slow the growth of the other better-developed jaw, so as to align both parts. Depending on the severity of the condition, follow-up surgery may be required to “move” the other jaw outwards.