If you’re among the many people struggling with dry mouth at night, you may wonder, “Why does this happen and how can I prevent it?” It’s important to know that this is not just an annoyance, but it can also impact your overall wellness and dental health. Read on for more information about how to recognize, prevent, and relieve dry mouth.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) occurs when your body does not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. When you sleep, it’s natural for your body to produce less saliva than during waking hours. However, when the amount of saliva is too low, it can result in symptoms such as:
- A dry feeling in the throat and mouth
- Bad breath
- A sore throat
- Cracked or chapped lips
- Infections or sores in the mouth
- Problems keeping dentures in
Why Is Saliva Important?
Having enough saliva doesn’t just make you feel better by keeping your mouth moist. Saliva also does important work behind the scenes – including at night – such as:
- Protecting your teeth against tooth decay - Saliva contains elements that neutralize plaque acids, which are a main cause of tooth decay.
- Fighting germs in your mouth to prevent bad breath – This can help protect against “morning breath.”
Over time, you may be more susceptible to problems like tooth decay and gum disease if your dry mouth goes untreated.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
There can be different reasons for dry mouth. Possible causes and contributing factors may include:
- Dehydration (not drinking enough water)
- Mouth breathing (often associated with sleeping on your back or snoring)
- Certain medications (check with your doctor or pharmacist)
- Certain health conditions (e.g., obstructive sleep apnea, Sjögren syndrome - an autoimmune disorder, and many others)
- Aging (and different health issues that may arise as you get older)
- Alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine
How Can I Prevent Dry Mouth?
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help prevent dry mouth. First, it’s important to address the possible causes listed above. For example, stay hydrated, avoid tobacco, and limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine before bed.
Other things that may help are to:
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your room.
- Avoid sugary, acidic, spicy, or salty foods, as they can make dry mouth symptoms worse.
- Try an over-the-counter dry mouth moisturizing spray or mouthwash.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for treating obstructive sleep apnea and other health conditions that may contribute to dry mouth.
- Make sure you’re taking good care of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing.
What If My Symptoms Persist?
If dry mouth persists, talk with your doctor and dentist to address any potential concerns and ways to find relief. Here at Integrated Dentistry, we’re committed to understanding your needs and finding solutions that work for you. This includes taking a holistic approach to treating problems such as dry mouth and providing services that help improve both your health and your smile.
Schedule an Appointment Today
To schedule an appointment at Integrated Dentistry, please request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!