Do you wake up every morning with a dry mouth and throat? Maybe you even get up in the middle of the night in need of a drink of water to rewet your mouth.
You could be dealing with a condition called xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. You need to know how to prevent dry mouth while sleeping because it can lead to some other oral health issues.
Problems Dry Mouth Can Cause
If your mouth is dry, you have a lack of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is crucial in keeping your mouth healthy. It helps clean bacteria that accumulate off of your teeth and gums. That’s how it plays a big role in preventing tooth decay and keeping your breath fresh.
Aside from the plaque, tooth decay, and potential tooth, dry mouth can also lead to sores in and around the mouth, a yeast infection in the mouth, and cracked and split lips.
With each of these conditions, you’re looking at further treatment to get the issue corrected. You should start taking measures to fix dry mouth when you start noticing the following symptoms:
- Consistent dryness in the mouth and throat
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Changes in the taste of foods
Dry Mouth Causes
Experiencing a dry mouth at night can be fairly common. There are a number of different things that could be causing it. You’ve got to figure out which issue you’re dealing with before fixing the problem.
This is the first thing you should think about. If you’re dehydrated, it’s going to affect your saliva production. All you’ll need to do is increase the amount of water you’re drinking throughout the day.
Side Effects From Medications
If there are medications that you take regularly, check the list of side effects they can cause. Dry mouth is a fairly common one. You may notice you’re experiencing dry mouth more than just at night if this is the root of your problem.
Some of the common medications that can cause dry mouth are:
- Blood pressure medicines
- Parkinson’s disease medications
- Radiation therapy
Sometimes you may just be breathing through your mouth while you’re sleeping. There are a number of things that could be leading to that, too.
You could be dealing with a respiratory infection, a cold, an allergy flareup, sleep apnea, or even narrowed nasal passages. You will likely notice if the cause is something like a cold or allergies, but a doctor will need to diagnose sleep apnea and narrowed nasal passages.
The autoimmune disorder called Sjogren’s syndrome attacks the glands in your body that produce tears and saliva. It causes the person with the disorder to experience dry mouth, which can get worse at night when your glands naturally produce less saliva.
Those with Sjorgren’s syndrome may notice other symptoms like difficulty swallowing food without a drink, mouth pain, speech problems at night, and dryness in the eyes and throat in addition to the mouth.
Dry Mouth Prevention Methods
If you are dealing with Sjorgren’s syndrome or something like a side effect from medication, you’ll need to talk with your doctor about the best course of action for getting rid of your dry mouth. For most other issues, you can use some of these methods to prevent xerostomia.
Start by drinking more water. Sipping it throughout the day will help you increase your intake and keep your mouth moist. Swapping out any sugary or acidic drinks you usually have with water will go a long way. Cutting down on those caffeinated drinks helps, too.
Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candies can help, too. They stimulate the flow of saliva in your mouth, which keeps it from getting dry.
Choosing the right mouthwash is another good step to take. Using a rinse that has alcohol in it can dry out your mouth. Try one out that doesn’t have alcohol. There are also mouthwashes that are designed to help with dry mouth. They contain xylitol, just like many sugar-free gums and candies. Adding fluoride toothpaste and fluoride gel before bedtime is also worth looking into. For those two options, it’s a good idea to consult your dentist.
If possible, don’t use over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants. They can make your dry mouth worse.
When to See a Professional
If you try all of the methods you can use at home, it’s time to talk to your doctor or dentist so they can help narrow down the cause of your xerostomia. If the condition is making it difficult to sleep at night or causing a lot of pain or discomfort, you should make that appointment as soon as possible.
If you leave dry mouth untreated, it can lead to some severe dental problems in the long run. Making dentist appointments twice a year can help. You’ll just have to remember to bring it up during your visit.