CPAP Dry Mouth: What's The Solution?
Continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP masks are an effective way to curb sleep apnea disorder. They aim to provide you a restful sleep along with a healthy breathing pattern.
Yet, some of you might have noticed that after using the CPAP mask for the entire night, you wake with a dry mouth. You might even feel like you can’t swallow anything. Around 40% of the CPAP users face the difficulty of having a dry mouth.
Now, you must be thinking that this is just one of the side-effects of CPAP masks. However, it is not a permanent side-effect as there are many cures for treating the problem of dry mouth, but before we talk about the treatments, it’s necessary to discern its cause.
Reasons For Waking Up With a Dry Mouth due to CPAP
There could be abounding underlying problems that can cause dry mouth due to your CPAP mask. These problems can cause an inconvenience in breathing through the mask itself. Other than breathing, a dry mouth can also cause other issues such as swallowing or eating food. It can also make your mouth feel unhygienic.
Some of the problems that can cause this issue are:
Breathing Through The Mouth
Mouth breathers usually face many difficulties such as bad breath, snoring, restless sleep, and lastly, dry mouth. Mouth-breathing can be due to nasal congestion, deviated septum, and other such factors.
Now, the reason why you’re experiencing this is that your CPAP mask is exerting air pressure on your nose to deliver the air. However, if your mouth is open during the night, this air can escape through it, and thus, cause dry mouth.
The problem might lie in your CPAP mask or machine. If your mask does not have proper sealing, it may cause various issues such as the overall inefficiency of your CPAP machine as well as dry mouth.
Due to the loose-fit of the CPAP mask, the air may escape. Now, because of insufficient air, there won’t be a lot of moisture either, which in turn can cause the issue of dry mouth after you wake up.
Thus, you must always make sure that the fitting of your CPAP mask is tight yet comfortable.
It’s also important to note that sometimes the issue of dry mouth may not be because of any kind of problem in your CPAP machine. It can be due to any extra medications you took before you went to sleep.
Various medicines have the side-effect of giving you a dry mouth. Oral medications are known to leave a dry mouth. Also, medications especially used for blood pressure problems, diabetes, heart ailments, etc. might also be a reason.
It can also be due to the aging process or any nerve damage that can slow down the production of your salivary glands and give you a dry mouth.
Any Other Medical Conditions
Lastly, many other medical conditions can also cause the problem of dry mouth in CPAP users.
Diseases like diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, other heart-related ailments, and on a more serious note, diseases like Cancer and AIDS can cause dry mouth due to less production of saliva.
All these reasons conclude the list of possibilities as to why you must be facing the issue of having a dry mouth after using a CPAP mask.
Now, the question arises if it is necessary to find a cure for this issue or just let go of it? Let’s take a look at all the additional problems due to dry mouth.
Problems Caused Due to Dry Mouth
Dry mouth may not sound like a huge problem, but it can cause health and hygiene problems like:
Difficulty in Swallowing
Lack of saliva production would lead to difficulty in breaking down the food you eat. Additionally, there would be no sort of lubrication for the food to pass through easily. This can cause difficulty in swallowing food.
A dry mouth is considered a breeding ground for bacteria. This can cause a lot of dental problems, too, like an increased amount of tooth plaque, dental caries, and gum-related problems.
Bad Breath Mouth
A bad-smelling mouth may become an embarrassment for you and can also make you feel unhygienic. As mentioned earlier, dry mouth gives rise to bacteria. These growing bacteria give off a foul smell and thus make your mouth smell unpleasant.
Other Minor Problems
Apart from the above three points, a dry mouth can also cause many other minor problems such as mouth sores, cracked lips, and bleeding skin at the corner of your mouth.
Due to these reasons, it becomes necessary to give attention to this problem you’re facing because of your CPAP mask. Now, let’s move on to the main part, finding a cure for getting rid of dry mouth problems.
Best Ways of Getting Rid of Dry Mouth Due to CPAP Masks
There are several easy ways you can get rid of the dry mouth problem without any significant efforts. Let’s take a look at each one of them in detail.
Increase the Moisture Content
The easiest way of getting rid of this issue is by buying a humidifier for your CPAP machine. Firstly, what is a CPAP humidifier?
A CPAP humidifier helps in adding moisture to your CPAP therapy. This humidification can increase the efficiency of breathing and also prevent the issue of having a parched throat or a dry mouth. If you feel that the airflow is too cold, you may want to look into a heated humidifier.
Some of the significant benefits of a CPAP humidifier are:
- Increased efficiency in breathing
- Prevents dryness of mouth
- Prevents parchedness of throat
- Prevents nasal congestion
- Increased comfort level
Hence, we highly recommend buying a CPAP humidifier for reducing mouth-dryness and other benefits.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution, then keeping yourself hydrated is the cheapest way to go. Water acts as an excellent way to reduce mouth-dryness.
Some researchers suggest that dehydration causes mouth-dryness, so increasing your overall water intake can help in preventing mouth-dryness.
Also, before you sleep, it is essential to steer clear from sugary or acidic fluids, like alcohol or aerated drinks, to avoid mouth-dryness.
Change Your Mask
One of the significant reasons for mouth-dryness is ill-fitting masks. If the masks do not seal your face correctly, it's allowing air leaks, leading to reduced moisture. So, if you feel uncomfortable due to your mask, it might be the right time to change it.
Full-face masks are the best option if your mouth feels dry after you wake up. These masks cover significant portions of your mouth and nose and do not let the flow of air escape, thus, keeping the moisture intact and reducing mask leaks.
Some of the additional benefits of full-face masks are:
- The best mask for mouth-breathers
- The best mask to reduce nasal congestion
- The best alternative for claustrophobic patients
- The best mask for side-sleepers
So, full-face masks are the ideal choice for buying, if you’re looking for an efficient mask.
Alternative For Mouth-Breathers
It is not easy to change your breathing patterns while you sleep. There are many websites that can help you to let go of your mouth-breathing habits, but what if you can get a CPAP accessory that can help you with that?
Chin straps like the Premium Sullivan Chinstrap from ResMed are an excellent idea for those who tend to breathe with their mouth open. They also help in keeping your jaw in place and prevent the air from escaping through your mouth. In this way, you can slowly let go of your mouth-breathing habit and also reduce mouth-dryness.
The above-given tips can help you get rid of the mouth-dryness. All of these tips also have many other benefits. So, do not let CPAP dry mouth stop you from getting a good night's sleep with your CPAP mask and machine.
Written by Gabriel Garcia