Waking Up With Dry Mouth: What To Do?

A dry mouth at night occurs when there is not enough saliva production. Your salivary glands may not be producing sufficient saliva to contribute to your oral health. When you have enough saliva production, your salivary glands actively work to kill bacteria in your mouth, keep it clean, and help with removing any food bits after you have eaten. A dry mouth can lead to a series of complications. To prevent any problems following chronic dry mouth, learn more about the symptoms of dry mouth, what causes dry mouth, and how to stop it.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

This condition is officially known as xerostomia. The symptoms are primarily uncomfortable but can also become a hazard. Below, we list the most common symptoms related to dry mouth.

Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common symptom of xerostomia. Although nobody’s breath is perfect in the morning, it could be especially unpleasant if you have a dry mouth at night.

Dry, Sore Throat

Xerostomia can mimic the symptoms of the beginning stages of a cold. Your throat may feel dry, sore, and scratchy, leading you to believe that you have developed an illness. However, this is a common symptom of dry mouth.

Thick, Sticky Saliva

Another common symptom is a change in the consistency of your saliva. You may notice that it’s thicker and stickier than usual. This occurs because your mouth isn’t maintaining its normal moisture.

Changes to Your Sense of Taste

Saliva plays a critical role in your ability to pick up on subtle flavours. If you’ve noticed that your favourite foods lack the same appeal, it could be due to xerostomia.

Difficulty Swallowing

This symptom can be dangerous because it could lead to choking. If you suffer from xerostomia, be sure to have a beverage on hand when consuming foods, especially dry foods.

Tooth Decay

One of the more severe symptoms of dry mouth is tooth decay. Saliva protects your teeth, and when there isn’t enough of it, your teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

There are several contributing factors to xerostomia. It’s a relatively common condition. Nearly 22% of the global population deals with a dry mouth at some point throughout their lives. If you suffer from xerostomia, it could be because of one of these issues:

Ageing

Ageing is associated with many different changes. You may be on certain medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. Xerostomia could also be related to nutritional deficiencies and any other age-related illnesses.

Mouth Breathing

Sleeping habits could also contribute to xerostomia. If you tend to experience dry mouth at night, you may be sleeping with your mouth open. Whether this is a habit, you have trouble breathing through your nose or you have another health condition, mouth breathing can contribute to dry mouth.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that impacts how you breathe while you’re sleeping. You may snore excessively or breathe through your mouth when sleeping, and if this is the case, saliva production is impacted, causing dry mouth.

Medication Side Effects

Many medications list xerostomia as a side effect. If you are taking medication long-term, you will likely continue to experience dry mouth as a side effect. If you’re taking medication short term, then the dry mouth side effects should subside when you stop taking that specific medication.

Other Health Conditions

Whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, other health conditions can be contributors to xerostomia. These include Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and even autoimmune diseases.

Lifestyle

Some of the immediate changes you can make to treat dry mouth include changes to your lifestyle. For example, if you smoke or chew tobacco, you’re likely to experience dry mouth symptoms. Similarly, recreational drugs and alcohol can also cause dry mouth. Stopping the use of any of these contributing substances can positively impact your oral health.

How to Stop Dry Mouth?

The symptoms and effects of xerostomia don’t have to run your life. You can improve your quality of life by taking some simple actions. To stop xerostomia, try the following:

  • Prioritise hydration. Drinking sufficient water every day can help keep your body in an optimal state, which helps with saliva production and keeps you from experiencing the effects of xerostomia.
  • If you love acidic or spicy foods, try to avoid these before bedtime. Avoiding these foods can help alleviate xerostomia symptoms, especially if you tend to experience them at night.
  • Try a dry mouth moisturising spray or a dry mouth oral rinse, and be sure to use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Make any lifestyle changes that contribute to good oral and dental health. This includes avoiding recreational drugs, smoking, and limiting your alcohol intake.

Checking in with your dentist is another way you can stay on top of your oral health and prevent or treat the symptoms of xerostomia. Learn more about preventative dentistry and prepare your goodbyes for dry mouth.

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