Waking Up With Dry Mouth | Why Does It Happen and How to Prevent It

So, are you tired of always waking up with a dry mouth? You're facing a real struggle – and your saliva is not lubricating your mouth as it should! While it is likely that is something you'll encounter most mornings, you might be wondering why this keeps happening and what you should do. 

Dry mouth is a condition that affects up to two-thirds of adults during their lifetime. The disturbing condition can cause a burning mouth and difficulty in swallowing. 

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Dr. Brite has several dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash to help dry mouth and improve your oral health. These alcohol-free products help soothe, protect, and lubricate your mouth. They are also great for children and adults prone to cavities and dry mouth.

There are many possible causes and solutions to dry mouth, as described in this article:

What EntailsWaking up with a Dry Mouth?

Waking up with dry mouth is a medical condition medically referred to asxerostomia. Your mouth feels dry when you don't have enough saliva. You may also experience a sticky mouth, cottonmouth, or bad breath. The condition is inconvenient and can progress to other complications.

It may be the symptom of another problem, such as anautoimmune diseaseor medication side effect. For some people, a dry mouth and bad breath may be an indication of dehydration.

A dry mouth happens when your salivary glands don't make enough saliva. Your salivary glands are small, globe-shaped structures found under your tongue, on the floor of your mouth, inside each cheekbone, and near your throat. They produce saliva, which moistens your mouth, aids digestion, and protects your teeth from cavities.

a man in bed covering his face with hands

Factors That Can Cause Your Salivary Glands to Stop Working Correctly

  • Dehydration – One of the most common causes of dry mouth is dehydration. When you don't drink enough fluids (water is best), it can decrease saliva production. It can happen if you're ill and have a fever or diarrhea or take certain medications that cause dehydration.
  • Certain health conditions like the Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS are just a few of the conditions that can lead to dry mouth. When fighting an infection, such as a cold or flu, dry mouth also may be a symptom.
  • Nerve damage – If the nerves that supply your salivary glands are damaged, it can result in a dry mouth. It's caused by head and neck radiation therapy, Alzheimer's condition, Parkinson's disease, severe or minor stroke, or an injury to your head or neck.
  • Excessive Tobacco Consumption- Any tobacco product can reduce saliva production, resulting in dry mouth. Cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco are all tobacco products.
  • Some medicines– Dry mouth has been connected to over 400 drugs: antihistamines, decongestants, pain relievers, antidepressants, and diuretics.
  • Mouth-breathing– If you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, it can lead to a dry mouth. It's often the case with people who have allergies or sinus problems that cause congestion.
  • Aging – As you get older, your salivary glands may not work as well as they used to. It can result from the aging process or certain medical conditions such as diabetes.
  • Dry air – You might experience temporary dry mouth when in a room with artificial heat or air conditioning. The dryness happens because these conditions can decrease the amount of moisture in the air.
  • Dental devices– If you wear dentures, have braces or use a retainer, you might experience dry mouth. These devices can cover your salivary glands or change how your teeth fit together, making it difficult for your mouth to produce saliva.
  • Sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome is a sleep disorder in which you stop breathing for short periods. Because it reduces the amount of saliva you make at night, it can cause dry mouth.
  • Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a loss of cognitive function such as memory and reasoning that progresses over time. It may also cause a reduction in saliva production.

closeup of the mouth treatment

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

When  dry mouth occurs, it can lead to several different symptoms, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A burning sensation in your mouth
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • A sore throat
  • A hoarse voice
  • A dry, red tongue
  • Changes in the way your food tastes
  • A heightened risk of tooth decay and gum disease

Severe symptoms of dry mouth can include:

  • Mouth sores
  • Infections in your mouth
  • Difficulty speaking or wearing dentures

If you're having any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor or dentist at once so they can diagnose the problem and treat it.

How to Prevent the Occurrences of Dry Mouth Condition

You can prevent dry mouth by doing a variety of activities, including:

  • Drink water before bed, and immediately you get up, and throughout the day.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids is important if you're ill or taking medications that can cause dehydration.
  • Chewing some sugar-free gum can help stimulate your salivary gland for saliva production.
  • Avoiding tobacco products – Now is the time to quit for those who smoke. Smoking decreases saliva production and increases your risk of developing mouth cancer.
  • Avoiding mouthwashes with alcohol – Alcohol-containing mouthwashes can worsen dry mouth. Look for alcohol-free products instead.
  • Using a humidifier can help add moisture to the air and prevent your mouth from becoming too dry.

water in the glass

How Can I Treat a Dry Mouth for Those Already Affected?

If you are experiencing dry mouth, there are many things you can do to find relief, including:

  • Sipping water or sugarless drinks often – Will help moisturize your mouth and boost salivation.
  •  Avoiding tobacco products – If you smoke, now is the time to quit. Smoking decreases saliva production and increases your risk of developing mouth cancer.
  • Using a humidifier can help add moisture to the air and prevent dry mouth at night.
  • Avoiding mouthwashes with alcohol – Alcohol-containing mouthwashes can worsen dry mouth. Look for alcohol-free products instead.
  • Using a saliva substitute – This can help relieve dry mouth symptoms. There are some over-the-counter products available, or your dentist may be able to prescribe one for you.
  • Biotène has also been demonstrated to be a successful treatment for dry mouth in many patients. However,  though it is harmless, Biotène is not a long-term cure. Call your doctor if the dry mouth symptoms persist.

When To Visit a Doctor

Most people experience dry mouth from time to time, and it is usually not a cause for concern. However, you should see your doctor if you are experiencing dry mouth regularly, as it can signify an underlying medical condition. Your doctor will be able to determine the cause of dry mouth and recommend treatment to help relieve your symptoms.

a doctor sitting at the desk in her office

The doctors will also offer various treatments to directly treat the dry mouth condition, including;

Use Moisturizing Toothpaste and Mouthwash.

These products can aid in producing saliva and the relief of dry mouth symptoms. Dr. Brite has products such as Healthy Gums Mouthwash - Wildberry for people who suffer from dry mouth. The product will also help you to have a healthier smile by moisturizing your gums and keeping your teeth and gums free of cracks.

As for the best type of toothpaste for a dry mouth, such hydrating toothpaste should have ingredients like hydrogen peroxide that ensure you have a healthy level of saliva to make sure your mouth isn't dry.

Artificial Saliva

Your doctor may prescribe artificial saliva if your dry mouth is severe. Artificial saliva is a liquid that you swish around in your mouth to help moisten it. There are several lubricants or synthetic saliva products available, and your doctor can help you find one that is right for your chronic dry mouth:

Moisture Replacement Therapy.

It involves using a gel or spray to help keep your mouth moist. There are several over-the-counter products available, or your doctor may be able to prescribe one for you.


If home treatment and artificial saliva do not work, your doctor may prescribe medication to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms. Medicines that can be used to treat dry mouth include:

  • Saliva stimulants – These medications can help increase saliva production.
  • Moisturizing agents – These medications can help keep your mouth moist.
  • Anticholinergics – These medications can help decrease the saliva your body produces.


Your doctor may also recommend acupuncture. It is a traditional Chinese treatment and procedure where fine needles are inserted into the human skin at particular locations on the body. Most people find that acupuncture relieves their dry mouth complaints.

a woman brushing her teeth in front of the mirror


Can Dry Mouth Cause Other Dental Conditions?

Yes. If you have dry mouth, you're at increased risk for developing cavities and gum disease. That's because saliva helps protect your teeth and gums from bacteria. Wearing dentures or other dental appliances can be challenging if you have a dry mouth.

Can Clinical and Experimental Dentistry Result in A Dry Mouth?

Dental procedures that require local anesthetics or general anesthesia can cause a temporary decrease in saliva excretion. Dry mouth and an increased risk of cavities and gum disease are possible side effects.

Is Dry Mouth Related to Nasal Passage Obstructions?

Dry mouth can be a side effect of nasal passage obstructions or nasal congestion, such as adeviated septum or nasal polyps.

Can the Antihistamines Use in Dentistry Lead to a Dry Mouth?

Yes. Antihistamines are often used to treat allergies and can result in dry mouth, one prevalent side effect.


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Final Thoughts

A dry mouth can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but there are several things you can do to find relief and keep your mouth wet. Home treatments, such as artificial saliva or moisture replacement therapy, can be effective for most people.

If home treatment does not work, your doctor can prescribe medication to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms. With the proper treatment, you can find relief from dry mouth and get back to enjoying your life.