Bumisuka.com – Dry Mouth at Night and Should You Worry. Dry mouth or xerostomia is the sticky sensation you may feel when you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth. Dry mouth at night or waking up with a dry mouth can be uncomfortable and can make swallowing difficult.
Dry mouth at night can occur due to natural variations in the amount of saliva that is produced. However, certain medical conditions can also cause it.
Dry mouth at night can be very common, especially in older adults. This is because saliva changes with age. According to research, some components of saliva decrease with age.
If you only experience dry mouth at night, the cause may be a blockage in your nose that forces you to breathe through your mouth.
Some medications can also cause dry mouth or make the problem worse. The American Academy of Oral Medicine states that more than 1,100 prescription and over-the-counter medications have the potential to cause dry mouth.
According to a 2015 scientific review in Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology, of the 100 most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, more than 80 percent cause this problem. Some medications that can cause side effects in the form of dry mouth include:
- Blood pressure medication.
- Anti-anxiety medication.
- Bronchodilators, which are used to treat conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Reported by Healthline, other causes of dry mouth at night can include:
- Sjögren’s disease.
- Nerve damage.
- Drug use.
The main symptom of dry mouth is a dry sensation in the mouth. According to the Sleep Foundation, many doctors and researchers use a list of symptoms called a xerostomia inventory, or a shortened version of this list. For example, the doctor may ask questions about the severity of:
- How dry is the mouth when eating?
- How difficult is it to eat dry food?
- How dry are the lips?
- How dry does your mouth feel at night or when you wake up?
- How thirsty do you feel at night?
Although dry mouth is the main criterion, other symptoms often accompany xerostomia. The American Dental Association considers these symptoms to be complications or signs of dry mouth:
- Bad breath.
- Burning sensation or sores in the mouth.
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
- Changes in taste or difficulty tolerating hot, salty, or sour tastes.
- Dry and chapped lips.
- Rough tongue.
- Infection in the mouth.
- Difficulty maintaining dentures.
Chronic dry mouth can also cause tooth decay, plaque, eroded enamel or tooth demineralization in the form of white spots, as well as sensitive teeth and inflamed gums.
3. Home remedies
Regardless of the cause, the following home remedies can help reduce the sensation of dry mouth at night:
- Avoid caffeinated drinks at night.
- Avoid smoking and using tobacco products which can dry out your mouth.
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugar-free lozenges or hard candy to stimulate saliva production.
- Frequent sips of cold water throughout the day.
To reduce the risk of cavities associated with dry mouth, practice good oral hygiene. This involves daily flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
If your mouth is very dry, you may need more frequent dental checkups to make sure you are not developing cavities.
4. When should I see a doctor?
Not all cases of dry mouth at night need to see a doctor. Sometimes, home remedies can solve the problem. However, consider seeing a doctor if:
- Home treatments do not relieve symptoms.
- Dry mouth affects sleep.
- Dry mouth is accompanied by other symptoms such as dry eyes or enlarged salivary glands.
Your doctor can review the medications you’re taking or order tests to determine whether your dry mouth is caused by an underlying disorder.
People who frequently experience dry mouth may need to pay more attention to dental care and visit the dentist more often to prevent tooth decay. Your doctor may suggest using topical fluoride to reduce your risk of cavities. Doctors can also help treat secondary infections that arise from dry mouth.
5. Medical treatment
Medical treatment will depend on the underlying cause of dry mouth. If dry mouth at night is caused by medications, and home remedies don’t help, your doctor may want to change your medication or adjust your dosage.
The doctor or dentist may prescribe certain medicines that help the body produce saliva. In certain cases, your doctor may give you a dental tray containing fluoride to wear at night to help prevent cavities.
If dry mouth is caused by a nose problem such as a severely deviated septum that causes you to sleep with your mouth open to breathe, your doctor may suggest surgery.
Septoplasty is a common procedure performed to correct a deviated septum. Symptoms associated with nasal obstruction from a deviated septum usually resolve after surgery, as reported by Healthline.
Dry mouth at night can be uncomfortable, and can even be a risk to oral health. It is important to treat the cause of dry mouth to prevent further complications.