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Why Is My Mouth Dry When I Wake Up?

Do you have problems with a dry mouth in the morning? Many people think of waking feeling parched as just being part of the normal sleep cycle, but that may not be the case. If you find you wake up with a dry mouth in the morning, it could mean you have xerostomia. Known as “dry mouth” it could be related to a number of health issues, including sleep-disordered breathing. Here we look at the common symptoms of dry mouth and the possible causes and treatments.

Symptoms Of Dry Mouth

Besides having, well, a dry mouth when you wake up, other symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • Sore mouth
  • Sticky tongue
  • Cracked dry corners of the mouth
  • Difficulty eating dry foods like popcorn
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Waking in the night feeling thirsty
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Discomfort or difficulty wearing dentures

If you experience any of these symptoms, there’s a chance you have dry mouth. It’s best to speak with someone who specializes in sleep and airway disorders to find the root cause, as dry mouth is sometimes a sign of several health issues. It can also lead to several health issues. 

What Does Dry Mouth Do to Your Health?  

Although it seems like it isn’t a big deal, dry mouth can lead to several health issues, including:

  • Increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease
  • Frequent mouth sores
  • Thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth
  • Severe dryness of the lips and mouth leading to splits or sores
  • Poor nutrition due to issues swallowing
  • Infections
  • Throat disorders

It can also be a sign of something like an underlying sleep-related breathing disorder

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth occurs when you aren’t able to produce enough saliva. There are several reasons you might suffer from dry mouth, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Medications
  • Aging
  • Cancer therapy
  • Nerve damage to the head or neck area
  • Health conditions including diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS
  • Snoring
  • Mouth breathing
  • Tobacco, recreational drug and alcohol use
  • Diet

Your airway specialist can discuss your symptoms and determine the cause of your dry mouth.

How Can I Treat Dry Mouth?

There are many natural solutions to help treat dry mouth. A specialist can conduct an airway assessment to determine the root cause. From there they can recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Mouth taping: If your assessment shows you are breathing through your mouth, mouth taping often helps resolve the issue. Applying a special tape to your mouth at bedtime forces your body to breathe through the nose.
  • Practice nasal breathing: Another solution for mouth breathing is practicing nasal breathing. Special exercises can help retrain yourself to breathe properly. Alternating breathing from each nostril helps focus on nasal breathing. As well, practicing “belly breathing” or “fire breathing” helps you concentrate on breathing deeply through the nose and exhaling forcefully through your nose. This helps keep your breathing more controlled.
  • Myofunctional therapy: Myofunctional therapy for dry mouth corrects improper muscle function of the tongue. It uses a series of simple, quick exercises designed to strengthen the tongue and facial muscles to optimize tongue posture, chewing and swallowing. Improved swallowing and tongue posture can help improve saliva production.

Waking up every morning with a dry mouth is a clear indication you are not producing enough saliva or are breathing through your mouth at night. Schedule a consultation or virtual appointment with Dr. Liz Turner at the Untethered Airway Health Center. She will assess your unique situation and provide you with a customized treatment plan.

Want to learn more about sleep and airway health? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders.

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