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Pediatric Sleep Disorders with Catherine McGregor of the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre in Ontario, Canada

Ontario, Canada-based dentist Dr. Catherine McGregor is seeing an increase in children that present with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), when a lot of those children aren't sleeping properly.  

When an adult has poor sleep, they exhibit daytime sleepiness and when children have poor sleep, it results in overtiredness, fussiness, crankiness and poor behavior, Dr. McGregor says.  She says that parents can hear loud snoring and teeth grinding at night and these children often perform poorly at school and can even have bedwetting problems.

Dr. McGregor says that when these children present at her dental practice, Lyndhurst Dental and the TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre, they often have a hard time tolerating something as simple as a dental mirror in their mouth and have a difficult time with teeth cleaning.  This is because they have difficulty breathing and are actually choking, as some children have a nasal obstruction from large adenoids, she adds.

Children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD are often on strong stimulant medications and need a sedative to get to sleep, says Dr. McGregor.  In these cases, she feels the "why" hasn't been addressed and some children need surgical intervention or an orthodontic referral to widen the palate and drop the nasal airway to create a better airway.

If the lack of airway and lack of sleep goes untreated, pediatric sleep disorders can lead kids to be unfairly labelled as troublemakers and poor school performance, according to Dr. McGregor.  She adds that is very important to look at these children and do an adequate examination and diagnosis to identify the sleep disorder to avoid having these children develop severe sleep apnea as adults.  Dr. McGregor feels this is one of the most important things a dentist can do, as it is "actually changing the child's life."

Dr. Catherine McGregor is a dentist with Lyndhurst Dental in Lyndhurst, Ontario Canada and the TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre of Eastern Ontario.  Dr. McGregor is also a leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV.

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