What You Don’t Know About ADHD in Your Child

Inattention, forgetfulness, and irritability are often symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They are also common symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in children. 

Does your child exhibit signs of ADHD? It’s crucial to know how these behaviors can be connected to disordered breathing—and how a dentist can help!

What is ADHD?

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders among children. It is characterized by an inability to pay attention, a lack of impulse control, and general hyperactivity. Such symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. They can appear as early as three years old and can potentially last through adulthood. 

What is Sleep-Disordered Breathing?

Sleep-disordered breathing refers to abnormal breathing patterns while asleep. These can include apneas, in which a child intermittently stops breathing and wakes up to take a breath, as well as hypopneas, in which the child’s breath becomes shallow. Other signs in children can include snoring or audible breathing, mouth breathing, difficulty falling asleep or waking up in the morning, bedwetting, frequent changes in position during sleep, or excessive sweating while asleep.  The nightly disruption of restful sleep patterns can result in excessive daytime sleepiness as well as irritable, emotional, or moody behavior. 

How are they connected?  

Studies show a link between ADHD and sleep-disordered breathing. One study shows that children with ADHD report higher rates of daytime sleepiness than those without ADHD. Another study shows that 50% of children with ADHD had signs of sleep-disordered breathing as compared to 22% of children without ADHD. A recent study confirms that roughly 75% of those with ADHD have sleep-disordered breathing!  Teeth grinding, or bruxism can also be associated with sleep-disordered breathing.  If your child grinds their teeth at night you should discuss with your child’s dentist to learn how they can help.

Why should I care? 

Parents are rightfully concerned when their child shows ADHD symptoms. Such symptoms are correlated with low self-esteem, trouble focusing in school, and negatively impacted relationships. 

ADHD has been a point of controversy in the two decades. As rates of children with ADHD have increased dramatically since 2000, some argue that the neurodevelopmental disorder is both overdiagnosed and overmedicated. 

If your child shows symptoms of ADHD, it is worth further investigating their sleep patterns. Restorative sleep means increased focus, improved mood, and better overall health. 

Dr. Dan has had additional training to understand sleep-disordered breathing in children and how the dental team can help.  His team provides assessments that can offer insight into your child’s breathing patterns. This simple appointment can provide important information regarding your child’s wellness and quality of life. Contact Children’s Dental Specialities in Worcester, Massachusetts, to make an appointment for your child today!

The Truth about George Washington’s Teeth


George Washington, the first President of the United States and revolutionary general, had dental problems his entire life. When he was inaugurated President in 1789, he only had one real tooth remaining in his mouth. A man known for his strength and resolve, Washington’s great oral pain sometimes made it quite difficult for the renowned orator to deliver speeches, and govern the infant United States.

Early Dentistry Was Not Great

Dentistry in the 18th and 19th Centuries was nowhere near as studied or effective as the modern dental practices used today. Toothbrushes were typically made of animal bone or silver, and the bristles were often made out of hog bristles, or horse and badger hair. Toothpaste was made of crushed seashells or charcoal, and usually was unscented, which lead to awful breath and terrible gum health. When someone had a tooth infection, they would just call the local blacksmith to pull it out for them – without anesthesia – because he had access to a wide variety of metal tools. When Washington was in office, he didn’t have access to laser dentistry, fluoride rinses, real toothpaste, or even floss! No wonder his teeth were in such bad shape.

His Teeth Were Not Wooden

One common myth about Washington was that his dentures were made of wood, this is in fact not true! The first U.S. President had a variety of dentures made of ivory, gold, and even lead. The wooden-toothed myth was most likely born by misconception. Washington often enjoyed port wine after meals, which would stain and crack his ivory teeth, leaving them looking like wood. In fact, John Greenwood, who served as one of his dentists, examined a set of his ivory teeth and wrote back, “the set you sent me from Philadelphia…was very black…Port wine being sour takes off all the polish.” Modern historians and forensic dentists have speculated – and widely agreed – that this was the cause of the wooden teeth myth!

Washington Kept His Lost Teeth

Instead of sharing his lost teeth with the tooth fairy, President Washington collected the teeth that he lost. He intended on saving them to be used as implants in new dentures, and even wrote a letter to his cousin requesting that he ship his lost teeth to him while he was away in New York. However, one of his first set of dentures, made by artist Charles Wilson Peale, used both elephant and human teeth on the lower row, while experts think that the upper row was constructed of cow’s teeth! There is no known record of Washington successfully using his own teeth as implants in a set of dentures, but there are extensive written letters documenting him saving his own teeth.

Washington’s struggle with good dental hygiene reminds us that we are lucky to have modern technology aid us in getting – and keeping – a healthy smile. He called health “among (if not the most) precious gift.” So make America’s founding father proud by brushing and flossing twice per day, for two minutes at a time. We only have one set of teeth, so take care of them!

Latest News from Children's Dental Specialties