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Dry Mouth at Night: How to Relieve Dry Mouth Discomfort

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A good night's sleep is important for good health, but that peaceful slumber can be difficult to achieve if you frequently wake up with a dry mouth at night.

Causes of a Dry Mouth

The causes of xerostomia, the medical term for dry mouth, can vary, but during the nighttime hours, lack of saliva is most often caused by sleeping with your mouth open or by snoring. Emotional causes, such as stress, and the side effects of some medications can also be factors. In fact, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners reports that more than 500 medications list dry mouth as a possible adverse side effect.

No matter what the cause, frequent dry mouth is an issue that should be addressed by a healthcare professional. Your mouth needs saliva, even when you're sleeping. Saliva helps prevent tooth decay because it neutralises plaque acids, washes away bacteria and food, and assists in swallowing. When you have dry mouth at night, your mouth can become red and irritated, making you more likely to develop a mouth infection. Additionally, addressing this issue could improve your sleep.

Treatment for Dry Mouth at Night

It's best to talk to your dentist about how to manage dry mouth, but there are some simple things you can do to relieve the discomfort in the meantime. To begin with, cut back on caffeine, soft drink, alcohol and smoking. During the day, be sure to drink plenty of water, as additional fluids will help the production of saliva. The Victoria State Government BetterHealth Channel suggests avoiding sugary or acidic foods and drinks, since they greatly increase the risk of tooth decay, especially when coupled with dry mouth.

When it comes time for bed, the Victoria State Government BetterHealth Channel suggests that turning on an air humidifier at night may be helpful. It also recommends removing any partial or full dentures while you sleep.

Visit Your Dentist to Address Underlying Causes

Xerostomia is not a disease, but it can be a symptom of a larger medical issue. If your dry mouth is accompanied by other symptoms -- including a burning sensation in the mouth, cracked lips or corners of the mouth, more plaque than normal and bad breath -- it's important that you go to your healthcare professional to talk about what you can do to relieve the dryness. Your dentist or doctor can help you address other underlying causes of your dry mouth.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.