Dry mouth is a common condition that tends to happen to people overnight. This is when the salivary glands in the mouth do not produce enough moisture to keep the mouth wet, which can cause a whole host of issues. Saliva is needed in the mouth as it naturally combats the acids and bacteria which cause gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Without this saliva, not only might your sleep be affected, your oral health may be impacted as well.
What Are The Symptoms?
Dry mouth could affect yourself or the people around you. You may know someone who has dry mouth if you observe these symptoms:
- Waking up in the morning with a dry mouth
- Having dry lips and throat in the morning
- Constantly feeling like you have a sore throat
- Saliva is thick, foamy or stringy in the morning
- Tongue is burning or cracked
- Halitosis, also known as bad breath
- Frequently having to drink water in the middle of the night
What Are The Causes?
Our human bodies are built to be able to balance the ecosystem within, so it is unlikely that you have a salivary gland unable to produce enough saliva (and only during specific hours, that is at night). The main reason for dry mouth is usually breathing through the mouth while sleeping. This causes the mouth passage to dry up as a lot of air passes through constantly overnight. Common causes for mouth breathing include snoring, having a cold or allergy blocking the nasal passage, breathing difficulties due to chronic sinusitis or other conditions, or wearing dental retainers or a bite splint at night.
In addition, having a dry atmosphere can worsen the situation. Central heating or air conditioning can cause the air in the bedroom to be dry, and difficult to change. Some climates tend to be dry as well.
What Can I Do About It?
Aside from treating the underlying causes if possible, there are some ways by which you may improve the situation using simple home remedies or changing personal habits. These include:
- Using a humidifier in the room
- Reducing intake of acidic or spicy foods in your diet that may irritate your internal organs
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, especially in the morning
- Quitting, or cutting back on, tobacco products
- Drinking more water throughout the day
- Sleeping with nasal strips to increase chances of breathing through your nose
- Focusing on oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day and flossing, to prevent bacteria buildup
- Chewing on mint or parsley during the day
If you have issues with dry mouth and are unable to treat it with home remedies or changing your habits, you should visit a dentist to get a professional opinion on the matter. Speak to Dr Alex Rubinov, a dental specialist in New York City, for a proper consultation and check up. Don’t let your oral health languish due to neglect!