Waking up with your mouth feeling dry or your throat parched is uncomfortable, and it can negatively impact oral health and disturb sleep. Your teeth feel like they haven’t been cleaned for days. Even if you sip water during the night, your mouth can still feel dry when you wake up in the morning. The following information can help you understand why dry mouth occurs and how you can handle the problem in the future.
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, occurs most frequently at night and is a common condition. It is caused when you don’t salivate enough to keep your mouth wet. Saliva is an important part of oral health because it naturally fights the bacteria and acids that cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. A lack of saliva leaves your mouth unprotected during the night and can negatively affect your oral health.
Symptoms of Xerostomia
If you have some or all of the following symptoms of xerostomia, consider visiting your dentist to talk about the problem. A dry, sticking feeling in your mouth when you wake up in the morning is the most obvious symptom, but other common indicators include:
- A burning sensation in your mouth
- Your mouth feels like it’s full of cotton
- Frequently waking during the night to drink water
- Stringy, foamy, or thick saliva in the morning
- Your tongue feels thick, like leather
- Difficulty performing basic functions, like chewing, speaking, and swallowing
- A constant sore throat
- Bad breath
- Dry lips
- Development of sores in your throat or mouth
Causes of Xerostomia
There are a number of factors that contribute to a lack of saliva; they can be seasonal, health-related, or habitual. If your mouth feels dry when you wake up, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a serious condition, but talking to your dentist about the issue helps you uncover and deal with the underlying cause. Some common causes of xerostomia include:
- Salivary gland disease
- A side effect of certain medications, including NSAIDs, antidepressants, and blood pressure regulators
- Radiation or chemotherapy for cancer treatment
- Autoimmune disorders or chronic medical conditions, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
- Emotional stress
- Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy and menopause
Mouth-breathing at night is also a common cause of feeling like your mouth is dry in the morning. It is often triggered by the following:
- Use of dental retainers, bite splints, or other orthodontic appliances
- Wearing a CPAP mask
- Breathing difficulties, including blocked nasal passages because of chronic sinusitis, a deviated nasal septum, or maxillary antrolith
- Snoring because of a cold or allergies can lead to swelling of the tissue in the nose, making you more likely to breathe through your mouth
Waking up feeling like your mouth is dry due to any of these factors is worsened by a dry atmosphere due to central heating or air conditioning.
Care and Treatment
Determining and dealing with the cause of xerostomia is important for preventing the problem in the future, but there are a number of home remedies that reduce the severity of symptoms and help you find relief. These remedies help you reduce the dryness while you deal with the underlying causes. The following home remedies help manage the symptoms of waking up with your mouth dry:
- Use a humidifier to increase air moisture levels
- Try nasal strips to make breathing through your nose easier
- Stimulate saliva flow by chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candies, such as citrus, mint, or cinnamon-flavored candies
- Avoid foods that can make the condition worse, such as spicy or acidic foods
- Quit, or cut back on, tobacco use
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, particularly in the evening, since both tend to dry out the mouth
- Focus on proper oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day
- Drink water or sugarless drinks often to stay hydrated
- Chew parsley or mint during the day
Your dentist may prescribe products that help reduce dryness, including saliva stimulants and substitutes. Saliva stimulants encourage the body to produce saliva, while substitutes include artificial saliva, water, and other oils or liquids. These products help provide more complete relief in combination with the above remedies.
It’s possible to avoid experiencing xerostomia in the morning by carefully managing your overall health. Staying hydrated and keeping your meals moist can help you cope until your salivary glands are back to normal; incorpating healthy broths and sauces in your breakfast makes them easy to digest. It is important to keep carefully monitor the condition of your mouth and teeth while you are dealing with xerostomia, as you are at an increased risk for dental caries and gum disease without enough saliva. Continue to practice good oral care, and check your mouth daily for inflammation or sores. Proper oral care includes brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist at least twice a year. If you are suffering from xerostomia, you will most likely need to see your dentist more frequently until you get the problem under control. Using a mouthwash, like Oral Essentials Hydrating™ Mouthwash for Dry Mouth, can also help stimulate saliva and keep your mouth clean and moist.
Feeling like your mouth is dry when you wake up is uncomfortable and may be a sign of other problems, but with proper care, you can deal with the problem. Good personal management combined with medical attention as needed help you control xerostomia so that it’s of little inconvenience to you as you start a new day.
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