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Why Do I Get a Dry Mouth At Night?

Using tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, can cause dry mouth.
Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, can cause dry mouth.
Certain medications can cause dry mouth.
Chronic dry mouth can lead to several different health risks if left untreated.
A rough dry tongue may accompany dry mouth syndrome.
Sleeping on one's side might help prevent dry mouth at night.
A lack of saliva in the mouth can cause bad breath.
Snoring typically dries up saliva.
Smokers are more likely to develop a dry mouth at night.
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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 December 2014
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Experiencing a dry mouth at night is a very common occurrence that can be caused by a number of different factors. Excessive snoring, tobacco use, and consuming too much caffeine often lead to dry mouth symptoms. In addition, many over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause a person to get a dry mouth at night. A lack of saliva can result in several annoying and unhealthy symptoms, such as bad breath, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, sores, infections, and tooth decay. Many people can find relief from dry mouth by avoiding certain medications and making simple changes to their lifestyles and eating habits.

Snoring is a leading cause of experiencing dry mouth at night. Individuals who snore breathe through their mouths during the night, which dries up saliva and often disrupts sleeping patterns. To relieve dry mouth symptoms, people are usually encouraged to prevent the causes of their snoring. Individuals can try to lose weight, sleep on their sides, and practice breathing through their noses. Anti-snoring aids such as nasal strips and mouthpieces are often effective at preventing snoring and the development of dry mouth at night.

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Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and unhealthy foods diminish saliva production, resulting in dry mouth and related symptoms, such as a lack of taste, bad breath, tooth decay, and mouth sores. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages can have similar effects on individuals. People are usually able to find relief from their symptoms by eliminating tobacco and alcohol use, cutting back on caffeine and sugary foods, and drinking plenty of water, especially before bedtime. Many health professionals suggest individuals chew sugar-free gum before going to bed to encourage the production of saliva.

Medications of many different types can decrease saliva as a side effect. A person who takes prescription or over-the-counter medication for high blood pressure, depression, or allergies is at an especially high risk of developing a dry mouth at night. Some patients who take drugs for cancer or undergo chemotherapy procedures develop lingering dry mouth symptoms. An individuals who believes he or she is experiencing dry mouth symptoms as a result of medication or treatment should consult his or her doctor, who can help find alternative treatments or prescribe drugs that stimulate saliva production.

Left untreated, chronic dry mouth can pose several different health risks. Individuals with dry mouths are at an increased risk of developing significant tooth problems, tongue disorders, and throat disease. By enacting home remedies and following the advice of doctors, people are usually able to restore healthy saliva levels and sleep soundly through the night.

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Discuss this Article

anon938662
Post 25

I only have a dry mouth when sleeping on my left side. If anyone experienced this and knows the causes and treatment, please post it. Thank you in advance.

anon926626
Post 24

Can I stop drinking water before bed and store it in my mouth?

anon346491
Post 23

I started getting dry mouth while sleeping several years ago. I have a very high palate, and I place a sugar free cough drop in the roof of my mouth. One will usually last me most of the night. I can usually keep it on the roof of my mouth, however, I have awakened to choking on it on rare occasions. Some cough drops work better than others.

My hygienist told me about something that helped her mom when her mouth was dry from cancer. I found a similar product at my local drugstore. It is smaller than the cough drop and is stuck to one side of the palate. It lasts all night, but I don't really like the one that I tried. It doesn't all dissolve, and it is difficult to get the rest out of my mouth. It may be that I just need to try a different brand.

anon323086
Post 22

My dry mouth has been happening for a few months, but lately it is occurring more often (every other night). Lately though, mucus has been gathering in the back of my throat and I am wondering if others experience a mucus problem with their dry mouth?

Also, I am under an enormous amount of stress right now and I am sure this plays a role in all of this.

anon313920
Post 21

Another important thing to avoid dry mouth symptoms is to avoid eating dry foods at night, such as crackers, crispbread, Rice Krispies, etc. These will all dry the mouth out like cardboard. Instead, have moist food such as soups etc.

Caffeine is present in chocolate as well as coffee, tea and cola drinks, so lay off these to see if it helps.

Another website suggests reducing sugar levels, and mentions that several diseases have dry mouth associated with them, including diabetes and Alzheimer's. So if your symptoms go on for weeks, then it's best to see a doctor to find the root cause, as a dry mouth can lead to more serious health problem as mentioned earlier on this useful webpage.

anon302765
Post 19

For me personally, it only happens when it's cold outside and the furnace is on. So I think it has to do with the furnace drying out the air. I'm going to test out a humidifier and see if that does the trick.

anon287977
Post 18

I began having dry mouth at night about four years ago. I think it was from drinking and smoking. I quit both of them, but I did some permanent damage to my sinuses and saliva glands. I can't breathe well through my nose when I sleep, so I breathe through my mouth, which would get dry like cardboard, which was very uncomfortable and disturbing to me.

About a year ago I discovered Breathe Right nasal strips and they have been a real life saver for me. Unless I discover something better, I will probably need them for the rest of my life. But thank God I can finally sleep well.

anon279723
Post 17

Angioplasty was done on me three weeks ago. I am on medication. In addition I take a quarter of a sleeping pill at night, without which I do not get any sleep. But I wake up within an hour due to dry mouth. Because I had a lung infection before a heart attack, I am advised against much fluid intake.

anon273451
Post 16

I suffer badly with dry and sore mouth. No back teeth, but my gums and jaw are so painful as well.

I have COPD and use nebulisers and o2 but really that should not affect my mouth. I have a ventolin inhaler that I take occasionally and in the mornings I take spiriva so my meds are minimal.

I know I shouldn't say this or do it but I have taken to having a lozenge in my mouth recently when I sleep and yes, I still wake in the middle of the night but it isn't as painful.

anon242332
Post 15

You are supposed to chew the gum before going to bed and then discard it.

anon193099
Post 14

My problem is my mouth is closed so tightly at night, my tongue pushes to the roof of my mouth and dries my mouth out. I do take depression meds at night and also high blood pressure medication during the day. What can I do to stop this? It never used to happen. Just started within the last four or five months.

anon190658
Post 13

I too have been experiencing dry mouth for at least six months. My tongue is now hurting! It's driving me mad. I'm reading all this website while drinking a cup of coffee. Could this be the culprit? I only have one cup a day. Also, I drink alcohol but not over consumption. I'm going to eliminate these the "factors" and see if that helps. Hopefully, by next week, I'll feel a difference.

anon168449
Post 12

I recently was doing laundry and had a hair from the laundry fly into my mouth. My instant reaction was to swallow. Big mistake. It is wedged in the back of my throat.

i have been to a throat doc who couldn't find it. he was very nice but i went home upset, and, as you could imagine, very uncomfortable! I can eat, drink etc., and it is still there feels like it is at the back of my tongue. What can i do? will it dissolve on its own from the acid in my mouth? Please help. And i know it's not a itchy throat or something. The darn thing moves around my mouth. Again, please help!

anon158099
Post 11

this has been happening to me for the past month. i do snore, but I've been snoring for as long as i remember. its very annoying, and it wakes me up.

i tried using candy when my mouth gets dry, but it only keeps me awake. Water helps, but i have to be awake to drink it and it's ok for a little while. don't know what to do.

anon155446
Post 10

I too, have had this problem. I think I have finally figured out my own little problem. I have noticed once I relax and start to drift off, my jaw muscles relax and my mouth drops open ever so slightly. This is causing my dry mouth. Especially if I happen to fall asleep on my back. If I roll over to either side it is a little better. But, my mouth will still drop open.

I have found that if I take another, an additional pillow and snuggle that under my chin it keeps my mouth closed and I sleep the whole night. I hope this works for others. --BLC

anon153020
Post 9

Dry mouth is driving me mad. i don't drink coffee, don't smoke, clean my tongue and teeth before bed, drink a glass of water, sleep well except waking all the time with dry month. could it be the air conditioner in our room? My husband has it on quite cold.

anon147558
Post 8

I quit smoking four weeks ago and have had dry mouth at night ever since the first week I quit. It is so annoying. It wakes me up and my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. I am keeping a glass of water beside my bed which helps me fall back to sleep but I am awake again about two hours later with the same. Any suggestions?

anon128881
Post 6

Try keeping dabs of butter in a little dish beside the bed. Then when the dryness wakes you up, let one dissolve in your mouth. It really helps. It not only coats the dry tissues as it inches down your throat, but the salt really gets the saliva flowing. And of course, it's not sweet, so not a tooth decay hazard. It really works!

anon121666
Post 4

I would not recommend sleeping with a gum in your mouth too. You are not going to be chewing it while asleep anyway, so what is the point? It only works to produce more saliva if you are chewing not by having it in your mouth. Coffee could be a quick fix, but a lot of caffeine intake could also cause a long term dry mouth, so be careful on how much caffeine you take.

anon87654
Post 3

anon65236: don't keep gum in your mouth when you sleep! it is a serious choking hazard. think about if you lie on your back, or while you are rolling over, that gum could very easily slip into your windpipe.

getting the gum in your hair should be least of the of your worries. Please don't do this.

anon65236
Post 2

I get dry mouth at night for no apparent reason! My teeth are healthy and always brushed, I drink lots of water and I'm not on any medication! Sometimes my mouth opens through the night while I'm sleeping - but not usually. Regardless, my mouth and throat are so dry when I wake up, it hurts! Drinking water doesn't help much.

I find the best thing for a quick fix when I wake up is drinking something warm or hot! (Coffee, tea, soup, etc.)

I just heard that chewing sugarless gum might help keep the saliva glands working, so I'm going to try that.

I'm a bit nervous though. The last time I slept with gum in my mouth, it fell out during the night, got stuck in my hair and it resulted in my mother cutting my hair! Of course I was seven years old at the time. I'm 36 now so I'm hoping I'll have better control of the situation and won't have to re-live the experience, as I have long hair again!

I don't want to be calling my Mom in the morning to come over and cut it out of my hair so I can get ready for work.

Here's hoping: Falling asleep with sugarless gum in my mouth (and random sleepy-chewing throughout the night) will help me to wake up with a moist mouth like it should be! --Chelsea

desertdunes
Post 1

Wow who would have thought that not drooling at night was actually a bad thing?!

Personally I'm a drooler, but if I fall asleep with the fan on I wake up with a dry mouth. When I'm sick I get dry mouth too, but I guess that could be the cold medicine.

I wonder how often you have to get dry mouth before it starts causing problems?

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