Child Wetting the Bed? The Solution Could Start at the Dentist’s Office

For some children, both bedwetting and ADHD could be linked to sleep-disordered breathing. Here, Dr. Rima Bazzi of Contemporary Dentistry discusses the correlation and how she helps young patients overcome these issues.

Waking up in a wet bed in the middle of the night is stressful. After all, bedwetting is embarrassing for kids and exhausting for moms and dads who have to strip the sheets and change their child’s clothes.

While it’s common for kids to occasionally wet the bed, especially during toilet training, it can also be a sign of an underlying issue known as sleep-disordered breathing. This chronic condition, which includes sleep apnea, causes people to stop breathing during sleep. As a result, they don’t get the proper amount of oxygen.

For kids, these issues can impact their ability to control their bladder, says Dr. Rima Bazzi, DDS, of Contemporary Dentistry, which has locations in Dearborn and Canton.

“A lot of times when the kids are not getting the proper oxygen at night and their sleep is going to be interrupted, they go into the fight or flight mode,” Dr. Bazzi says. “That’s what causes the body to go into an area where the oxygen is least needed, which is the bladder, and it causes (children) to wet the bed.”

In some cases, sleep-disordered breathing impacts a child’s daytime behavior and may result in a misdiagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

What many parents don’t realize is that correcting a child’s bite can help with sleep-disordered breathing, ultimately alleviating bedwetting and, in some cases, behavioral issues.

Here, Dr. Bazzi offers insight on this issue and the HealthyStart System, a non-invasive dental treatment that uses a child’s natural tooth eruption as a way to guide teeth into their perfect position.

Signs of sleep issues

Snoring, mouth breathing, headaches and grinding or clenching teeth are just some signs your child could be struggling with sleep-disordered breathing. These kids can be prone to ear and throat infections, have speech issues or even have allergies.

“A lot of times, when the air is not getting filtered through the nose, it makes them a lot more prone to allergy-related issues,” Dr. Bazzi says.

Oftentimes, Dr. Bazzi notices dark circles under a child’s eyes – or that he or she is struggling to sit still during a dental exam.

Children who have issues focusing due to sleep-disordered breathing are sometimes misdiagnosed with ADHD. Roughly 6.1 million kids ages 2-17 have an ADHD diagnosis as of 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes.

“When I talk to the parents, I tell them just imagine yourself,” Dr. Bazzi says. “You don’t get one night of good sleep and what happens to you the next day? You’re irritable, you’re moody, you’re short tempered. Your attention span isn’t where it needs it to be.

“So imagine these kids dealing with that day in and day out – not getting the proper sleep, proper oxygen to their brain. That’s a lot of times what causes them to get misdiagnosed with ADD or ADHD.”


“If we are catching these kids even as early as 2 or 3 years of age prior to the development of the permanent teeth, then we’re looking at what can we do to help promote the proper development,” Dr. Bazzi says. “To help promote getting the dental arches into a proper position and how to promote the proper habits.” That includes breathing through the nose versus breathing through the mouth.

“Breathing through the nose helps filter the air and release the nitrous oxide. The most important function of nitric oxide is vasodilatation, meaning it relaxes the inner muscles of the blood vessels, causing them to widen and increase circulation.” she says. “If you’re breathing through the nose, the tongue is sitting at the roof of the mouth, as opposed to the floor of the mouth, to help promote the proper development of the upper arch” of teeth, known as the maxilla.

To assist patients, the team at Contemporary Dentistry offers the HealthyStart System. It’s a two-step process, which includes a habit corrector appliance that promotes nasal breathing and proper positioning of the tongue.

“A lot of kids are tongue thrusters. Their tongue is pushing forward on their teeth and not falling to the roof of the mouth. When the tongue is going to the roof of the mouth, then it is promoting the proper development of the upper arch,” she says. In turn, that dictates where the lower arch of teeth is going to be. Dr. Bazzi describes it as the “lid to the box.”

Once the habit is corrected, phase two includes a second appliance that guides and promotes the eruption of the permanent teeth into a proper position.

“It’s very essential to catch it at an early age, because we have a chance to allow that growth and development to work to our advantage,” Dr. Bazzi says. “We can correct it to help them live a fuller and healthier life for the rest of their life.”

Content brought to you by Contemporary Dentistry. For the Dearborn office, call 313-425-7311 or visit For the Canton location, call 734-890-5707 or visit Find more information on bedwetting at


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