Do you want to learn how to prevent dry mouth while sleeping? If so, you will find much help with this article.
Being a cancer patient dry mouth is nothing new to me. Every few months, my cancer medicine has to be changed when the old one stops working, so there are always new side effects to contend with. But the one I am most consciously aware of is having a dry mouth.
During the night, I usually wake a few times because of dry mouth. For a few years, I could not even sleep because the dryness in my mouth would cause my throat to hurt. But eventually, I learned some excellent methods I can use, which have now saved my sleep.
My voice often sounds hoarse because of my dry mouth. Even though I have learned to care for my mouth, there are still days when it gets the best of me. But remember, we are not alone; there are millions of people all over the world who suffer from dry mouth.
Dry mouth comes with a set of risks that we cannot afford. For many, it seems harmless, but dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Not having enough saliva production can leave bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to mouth disease and stay up at night because the mouth is dry.
What Is Dry Mouth
Dry mouth also known as Xerostomia is a health condition that affects many people around the world. The salivary glands, when unable to produce sufficient saliva in the mouth leads to dry mouth taking place. Having a wet mouth is crucial when going to bed at night; a dry mouth can lead to a sore throat, sleepless nights, and cause insomnia. Saliva being produced helps to neutralize the acids produced by the bacteria in our mouth. Food particles are washed down by saliva, which prevents harmful bacteria from forming. Having bacteria sit in our mouth can lead to a host of other issues.
Symptoms Of Dry Mouth
- Bad breath
- Saliva that is thick or string
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Throatiness or Sounding Hoarse
- Sore Throat
- Tongue Grooves
What Are The Causes Of Dry Mouth
- Dehydration – This is the most common cause of dry mouth. Most of us are not drinking enough to keep our bodies hydrated, which shows up significantly during sleep. We will not notice it so much during the daytime, but when dry mouth jars, you awake, that’s when dehydration rears its ugly head.
- Medication Side Effect – I take anti-cancer medication, but I have also had to add others such as high blood pressure and thyroid medications due to cancer treatment’s side effects. All of these can dry a person right out. But dry mouth is not only limited to anti-cancer medications; taking drugs to treat depression, anxiety, pain, or muscle relaxants can also add to the list of why your mouth is drying out when you sleep.
- Damaged Salivary Glands – When the salivary glands get damaged, it can cause them to malfunction, block, or become infected. Glands that are not working right will have produce less saliva, leading to dry mouth and tooth decay.
- Aging – As we get older, medications start to make their way into our life. Dry mouth is not something that should happen when people age, but medications taken by the elderly are known to cause dry mouth.
- Smoking And Drinking – Smoking will slow down saliva production while alcohol will dry out the mouth and lead to an aggravation of symptoms.
How To Prevent Dry Mouth While Sleeping
1. Get A Humidifier
A humidifier will work by increasing humidity levels in a room. When there is more humidity, it can lead to open nasal airways helping you breathe better. The mist dispersed by a humidifier helps prevent dry mouth while sleeping as it keeps the throat saturated with moisture. When our nasals are clogged, we tend to breathe through our mouth, but a humidifier will remedy it by keeping your nasal airway open.
You can get humidifiers in a cool or warm mist. The one I have is a warm mist, I cannot use the heating system in my room as it dries out my air, but to stay warm, the warm mist humidifier helps. The best humidifier to get is one that you can fill to run all night long.
2. Use A Dry Mouth Spray
Having a dry mouth spray close at hand can make a difference in how well you sleep. Dry mouth spray is usually thick and leaves behind a nice coat of moisture in your mouth. Currently, Biotene offers the best protection against dry mouth. It can fit into any lifestyle, be it exercise where you tend to lose water, use medications for an illness, or lack moisture in your mouth.
Dry mouth sprays will help you retain water and lubricate your mouth, which most people with mouth dryness need. The pH level in our mouth drops with acid drinks or foods. The spray works to counteract that to bring pH levels back to normal. The spray can also be used to produce saliva, which is usually lacking due to unhealthy bacteria.
3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits
After every meal, brushing our teeth can be a bit of pain, but you will wash away the bacteria every time you brush. It’s the harmful bacteria in our mouth that leads to thrush (mouth yeast infection), a leading cause of dry mouth. Once you limit bacteria growth, you’ll notice your mouth remaining wet during sleep.
4. Moisten Your Food
This last one may be hard to comprehend, but people who eat dry food often experience dry mouth because the body uses its water stores to lubricate the food for digestion. When the water from the body is used, it leads to having less hydration. I try to stay away from dry foods such as toast. If I want to have toast, I have it with chai/tea for dipping the toast, which then moistens it, and no extra lubrication from the body is required.
5. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water throughout the day will ensure that your body stays hydrated. The usual recommendation for water is 8-12 glasses a day, but some people drink more. It really depends on the person’s lifestyle. I keep a water bottle by my bed; as soon as I wake up, I take a couple of sips. Not only does this help to prevent dry mouth, but it also helps to fill my daily water quota.
Drinking water is an easy solution as most of us have access to it. Suppose you are not a water drinker, then flavor it with lemon juice. Even though lemon juice is acidic, it still helps to prevent dry mouth as it works to balance the pH levels in your mouth.
Some Final Words
Hopefully, I have given you some good ideas on how to prevent dry mouth while sleeping. Most of these I have used myself to get better sleep at night. But if you need more help, then the best thing to do is contact your Doctor or Dentist for extra assistance.
Please share in the comments below what you do to prevent dry mouth while sleeping.
Reading is my favorite thing to do. But other than reading, I enjoy discovering new techniques on how to do something in simpler methods. My daughter likes to call me the Renaissance woman. So I do have to live up to the name.
One of my main issues is sleeping, so I’m always searching for new ways to get a good night sleep, I’m more than happy to share them with you.
My posts are either geared towards pain or self-help. Pain posts because I suffer from ongoing cancer pain. In the past 6 years of my fight with cancer, I have learned many ways to deal with pain, especially when going to bed.
The self-help posts come from my work as a mental health counselor for over 15+ years. My background in counseling training is from UFV and RRU. I also have personal trainer certification from IFA, so I might throw in some exercise posts as well.