What’s dry mouth?
Waking up with a dry throat is very common. Dry mouth, also known as hyposalivation or
xerostomia, occurs when the salivary glands present in the mouth do not produce enough saliva and
thus create a dry environment in the mouth. According to statistics, dry mouth affects nearly 22% of
the world’s population. Dry mouth can make daily life very uncomfortable and, in some cases, if left
untreated, may even lead to gum diseases and teeth decay.
What causes dry mouth?
Dry mouth can be caused by the following:
Medication side effects
More than 90% of the time, dry mouth is caused by medications. Listed below are some medications
that can be the culprit of the fact that you are waking up with a dry throat:
However, even if medications are the reason behind your dry mouth, don’t stop taking them without
your doctor’s approval. Ask them how can you continue taking the meds without suffering from the
condition of dry mouth.
Dry mouth affects about one in five older adults. It is because older people are more likely to take
medications that can cause dry mouth. In addition, with aging, the body suffers from many factors
contributing to a dry mouth, such as inadequacy of nutrition, difficulty in processing medications,
and long-term health problems.
It is a sleep disorder that affects an individual's breathing while they are asleep. In this condition, the
person starts breathing from the mouth, making them wake up with a dry throat in the morning.
Excessive tobacco intake
Nicotine present in tobacco reduces the saliva flow, exacerbating an already dry mouth.
High consumption of alcohol
Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which means that when the body breaks down the alcohol, it removes the
water from the blood through the urine, a factor eventually leading to a dry mouth.
Dry mouth is one of the most prominent symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease
that affects the glands present near the mouth and eyes.
What are the symptoms of dry mouth?
Dry mouth can have the following symptoms:
Hoarse or sore throat,
A scratchy feeling in your nose and eyes
Dryness in the nasal passageway
Bad breath throughout the day
See your doctor immediately if you have the severe symptoms of dry mouth, such as:
Discolored patches inside your mouth
Tooth-decay or cavities
How to prevent a dry mouth while sleeping?
Drink plenty of water
Dry mouth can often be treated by consuming more water throughout the day. This will ensure you
don’t have to wake up at night with a dry mouth.
Suck ice cubes or popsicles
Ice cubes and popsicles help stimulate saliva flow and are, therefore, effective for preventing dry
Try sugarless gums or candies.
Chewing sugar-free gum causes your mouth to increase the production of saliva by ten times the
normal mouth and can provide short-term relief from dry mouth.
Many herbs can help stimulate saliva production and temporarily relieve dry mouth. Some such
herbs are Aloe vera, Ginger, Hollyhock root, marshmallow root, sweet pepper, nopal cactus, etc.
Cevimeline is often recommended to treat dry mouth experienced by patients with Sjogren's
disease. It eases the symptoms by causing certain glands in the mouth to produce more saliva. It is
typically administered at a dose of 30 mg three times a day for at least three months.
Pilocarpine is another drug that stimulates certain nerves to boost saliva production in the mouth.
Doctors generally prescribe pilocarpine at a dose of 5 mg three times a day for at least three months.
According to research studies, xylitol and betaine are the two chemical ingredients that effectively
improve dry mouth. Therefore, mouthwashes containing ingredients such as xylitol kill harmful
bacteria present in the mouth, improving overall oral health while keeping the mouth moist. You can
also consider fluoride rinse.
Nasal and mouth spray
Nasal sprays moisten the nasal cavity and alleviate the dry mouth. In addition, gel and topical
treatments also help.
Improve overall oral care
Limit caffeine intake
Cut down on alcohol
Brush your teeth twice every day
Avoid acidic or spicy foods and sugary beverages
Avoid allergy medications if possible
Try eating not too late at night
Get a humidifier in your bedroom to raise the moisture level
Visit your dentist twice at least once a year