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February 2, 2024

What Is Dry Mouth And How Can I Manage It?

Close up of someone's face while they lay in bed with their mouth open, seemingly snoring

When you wake up, do you find that your mouth feels as dry as the desert? Or like it’s full of cotton? This condition, commonly known as dry mouth or xerostomia, could cause more issues than just an occasional irritation. It may indicate a range of things to watch out for, from basic habits to complex health concerns. Let's chat about what causes dry mouth and how to manage it.  

How to Recognize Dry Mouth Symptoms

Excessive dry mouth goes beyond parched lips. The truth about maintaining healthy teeth free of decay is to produce enough saliva, which doesn’t happen when you have dry mouth. We don’t think saliva is talked about enough, and getting rid of dry mouth is just one of its many useful functions. If you experience a dry mouth when you wake up, you may have common symptoms such as:

  • Parched, sticky feeling in the mouth
  • Dense, fibrous saliva
  • Noticeably bad breath
  • A sore or dry throat
  • Inflamed or chapped/cracked lips  
  • Dental ulcers or sores
  • Change of taste

Understanding the Underlying Causes of Xerostomia

While an infrequent dry mouth can result from simple causes like sleeping with an open mouth or dehydration, there are often more significant factors at play. Medications for blood pressure, depression, and allergies are known to have dry mouth as a side effect. Medical conditions, including diabetes and autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren's syndrome, also contribute to xerostomia. Additionally, lifestyle habits, particularly smoking and regular alcohol use, can intensify dry mouth symptoms.

Effective Management Strategies for Dry Mouth

Combatting dry mouth effectively depends on the underlying cause. If it’s a matter of hydration, increasing your water intake throughout the day and before bedtime can help. For those whose dry mouth is linked to medication or health conditions, additional steps beyond increasing how much water you drink may be needed, such as:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production (within reason, chewing a lot of gum can cause jaw issues)
  • Using a humidifier in the bedroom
  • Opting for sugar-free lozenges

Regular dental visits are key to maintaining good oral health, especially if you're dealing with persistent dry mouth. Your dentist can suggest specialized products like hydrating rinses to alleviate the discomfort and protect your oral health.

While waking up with a dry mouth can be a common experience, understanding its causes and knowing how to manage it can make a significant difference. Always consult with your dental professional for personalized advice and treatment options. Book an appointment at one of our Garden City or St. Vital clinics today to learn more about the cause of your dry mouth and how to avoid it in the future.

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