Waking up in the morning with a dry mouth can be very uncomfortable. It can even have serious health consequences. It is important to identify the cause that causes this dry mouth to understand what remedies to adopt.
Sometimes we may be able to treat or prevent dry mouth, although in some cases, the underlying cause is incurable. However, there are ways to relieve dry mouth even if you can’t get rid of it completely.
What does it mean to have a dry mouth?
This problem is also known as xerostomia . It happens when the salivary glands of the mouth do not produce enough saliva and it creates a sensation of dryness in the mouth. It can also cause other symptoms, such as bad breath, dry throat, and chapped lips.
Saliva is a necessary part of the digestion process, as it helps to moisten and break down food. It also works as an important defense mechanism to help the body maintain good dental health, protecting your mouth against gum disease and tooth decay.
Dry mouth is not a serious medical condition on its own. However, it is usually a symptom of another underlying medical problem that requires treatment. It can also lead to more serious side effects like tooth decay.
What are the causes of its appearance?
There are numerous factors that can cause dry mouth, although it is usually the result of dehydration . Some conditions, such as diabetes, can also affect saliva production and lead to dry mouth. There are even rarer ones such as stress, anxiety, smoking tobacco, marijuana, taking tranquilizers, breathing through the mouth, taking certain medications, undergoing radiation therapy, some autoimmune disorders and aging.
It is important that you go to the doctor if you think that the origin may be something serious.
Your sleeping habits may be the reason you wake up with a dry mouth. You may experience dry mouth if you sleep with your mouth open. And this can happen because it is a habit, because of blocked nasal passages or because of some other health condition.
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can lead to mouth breathing and dry mouth. Also, people with more severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to experience dry mouth than people with milder cases.
Science has also looked at the effects of dry mouth in people recently diagnosed with sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome , which is characterized by shallow breathing, while apnea causes breathing to stop completely. People with this condition were more likely to develop dry mouth if they had more severe cases of apnea, a higher body mass index, or used a machine to help treat their condition.
Tobacco and alcohol
You may experience dry mouth after using alcohol or tobacco. Alcohol is acidic and can be dehydrating, causing a dry mouth and even tooth problems. Also, dry mouth can occur after using alcohol-based mouthwashes.
On the other hand, it is not news that smokers experience dry mouth. Even people who smoke are at higher risk for tooth decay, gum disease, or loose teeth.
Medications are a major cause of dry mouth. Many of them can cause dry mouth, including those taken for sinus problems, high blood pressure, mental health conditions, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, overactive bladder, or allergies.
You can develop chronic dry mouth if you must take medications like these to control a serious health condition. You also have a higher risk of dry mouth if you take multiple medications at the same time.
It is important to communicate dry mouth problems to a doctor in case it is necessary to change the medication and thus avoid waking up with this problem.
You may experience dry mouth more often as you age. Aging itself may not be the cause, but it may be the result of the medications you take to control other conditions.
Some conditions can also cause dry mouth, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. So after a few years it can be a common problem to start the day with a scratchy throat or a sore throat when you wake up.
There are several reasons why you may experience dry mouth if you have diabetes. It can happen if you are dehydrated or if your blood sugar levels are consistently high. Dry mouth can also occur as a result of the medications you take.
Taking steps to control diabetes will help reduce your risk of dry mouth. See a doctor to find out what medications you are taking and if you can change any of them to relieve dry mouth.
Tips to prevent dry mouth
This problem is usually a temporary and treatable condition. In most cases, dry mouth symptoms can be prevented and alleviated at home by considering the following tips:
- Drink water often
- Suck on ice cubes
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
- Limit your intake of salt and sugar
- Using a humidifier in your bedroom when sleeping
- Romar saliva substitutes
- Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candy
- Using toothpastes, rinses, and mints
It is also important to brush and floss your teeth every day and have a dental checkup twice a year. Good oral care can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can result from dry mouth. If this dryness problem is caused by an underlying health condition, you may need additional treatment. That’s why you should see a doctor to learn about treatment options and long-term prospects.
Treatments to relieve dry mouth
A doctor will likely review any medications you are taking to see if any may be causing the annoying dry mouth. They may give you a different amount to take or change the medicine to ease symptoms.
The doctor may also prescribe artificial saliva or medications to increase saliva production in the mouth.
Therapies to repair or regenerate the salivary glands may be available in the future to treat dry mouth, but according to one of the latest scientific studies, additional research and advances are needed.