Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 5-04-2021
If you find you wake up with a dry mouth and sore throat, you might be suffering from dry mouth. As many as 23% of Canadians suffer from sleep-related dry mouth which can cause you to wake feeling thirsty and in need of a glass of water. This can occur for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, it can also contribute to poor oral health if you don’t do something about it.
Also known as xerostomia, a dry mouth can cause issues because you aren’t producing enough saliva to help clear away debris and promote remineralization of your tooth enamel.
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
- A sticky feeling in your mouth
- Thick saliva
- Stringy saliva
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing
- Dry or sore throat
- Dry tongue
- Tongue grooves
- Unpleasant taste or changes to the taste of food
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Increased discomfort when wearing dentures
Here we look at eight common causes of dry mouth while sleeping with some tips to help improve saliva production.
1. Taking medications
Antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, beta-blockers, anti-hypertensives, diuretics and pain medications can all cause dry mouth. Ask your pharmacist about your regular prescription and over-the-counter medications to find out if they can be causing dry mouth.
As we age, we increase the risk of dry mouth for several reasons. For the most part, however, it is because we tend to require more medications or might suffer from health conditions that cause dry mouth.
If you are undergoing chemotherapy, it can create thick saliva caused by damaged salivary glands.
4. Radiation treatment
Radiation to the head, neck or mouth can affect the salivary glands which disrupt proper saliva production.
5. Damage to the neck or head
As above, damage to these areas can cause damage to the glands and in turn, reduce saliva production.
6. Health conditions
Health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, thrush, Alzheimer's disease and autoimmune diseases can also interfere with saliva production.
7. Snoring and mouth breathing at night
When you snore or breathe through your mouth at night, the air dries out your mouth and throat.
8. Use of some substances
Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drug use such as methamphetamine, marijuana and even caffeine can all cause dry mouth.
How to Stop Dry Mouth at Night
A dry mouth is not only uncomfortable but can also lead to embarrassing bad breath. You can help avoid dry mouth using the following tips:
- Drink plenty of water
- Choose a fluoride toothpaste
- Use dry mouth oral rinse
- Use dry mouth moisturizing spray
- Avoid spicy and acidic foods before bed
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Avoid recreational drug use
If dry mouth persists, we can identify the cause and recommend changes to your oral health regime to keep you more comfortable.
Why You Should Avoid Dry Mouth
While some people decide to live with a dry mouth, it really isn’t a good idea. If left untreated, it can lead to complications including:
- Increased plaque, tooth decay and gum disease
- Mouth sores
- Yeast infection of the mouth
- Sores in or around the mouth
- Split skin at the corners of the mouth
- Cracked lips
- Poor nutrition due to difficulty chewing and swallowing
While it might seem dry mouth is more of an inconvenience than a serious health condition, it really can lead to issues it is best to avoid. Make sure to see a dentist regularly to avoid any serious oral health issues.
For more information about chronic dry mouth when sleeping, call Milltown Dental at 905-878-8528 or contact us here.