Obstructive Sleep Apnea and ADD/ADHD


We interviewed Elizabeth Walker DMD, MSD to discuss the relationship of obstructive sleep apnea and ADD/ADHD. At least 70% of children who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Many of these children are frequently diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD and are typically placed on medication when in fact their problems may be caused by sleep deprivation. Children with OSA may exhibit the following symptoms:

As can be seen from the symptoms above, there is a lot of overlap between obstructive sleep apnea and ADD/ADHD.

Orthodontics centered around breathing, also known as “airway orthodontics“, addresses the root cause for children who snore or have apnea and can prevent it in children who don’t. In addition, airway orthodontics can improve symptoms of ADD or ADHD and thus proclude the need for pharmaceutical intervention.

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About Elizabeth Walker DMD, MSD

Committed to her patients and continuing education, Dr. Walker has extensive experience diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders and craniofacial pain. She integrates the evaluation of awake and sleep-disordered breathing into her patient care.

Dr. Walker’s mission is to provide her patients with the latest diagnostic technologies to identify the ORIGIN of symptoms to resolve pain, skeletal, dental and breathing challenges.

She graduated from the Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University in 2006.

Dr. Walker received her certificate in the Specialty of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University in 2010.

She has completed an extensive Mini-Residency from TMJ and Sleep Therapy Research earning a graduate certificate in Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders & Craniofacial Pain in 2013. In 2015, she completed her Masters of Science in Dentistry at Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University.

You can find out more about her and her practice at www.tmjvt.com


This webinar is not a substitute for medical advice, treatment, diagnosis, or consultation with a medical professional. It is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be relied on to make determinations related to treatment of a medical condition. Epidemic Answers has not verified and does not guaranty the accuracy of the information provided in this webinar.

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Sources & References

Bussi, M.T., et al. Is ankyloglossia associated with obstructive sleep apnea? Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2021 Nov 5;S1808-8694(21)00181-6.

Hesselbacher, S., et al. A Study to Assess the Relationship between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults. Cureus. 2019 Oct 24;11(10):e5979.

Huang, Y.S., et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with obstructive sleep apnea: a treatment outcome study. Sleep Med. 2007 Jan;8(1):18-30.

Hvolby, A. Associations of sleep disturbance with ADHD: implications for treatment. Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2015 Mar;7(1):1-18.

Martel, J., et al. Could nasal nitric oxide help to mitigate the severity of COVID-19? Microbes Infect. 2020 May-June; 22(4): 168–171.

Sedky, K., et al. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sleep disordered breathing in pediatric populations: a meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev. 2014 Aug;18(4):349-56.

Urbano, G.L., et al. The Link between Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Children (Basel). 2021 Sep 19;8(9):824.

Xiangming, L., et al. The relationship between inflammation and neurocognitive dysfunction in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. J Neuroinflammation. 2020 Aug 1;17(1):229.

Youssef, N.A., et al. Is obstructive sleep apnea associated with ADHD? Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Aug;23(3):213-24.

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