How To Manage Dry Mouth When You Use A CPAP Machine

Posted on: 31 March 2016

CPAP machines are excellent for keeping patients with sleep apnea breathing through the night. However, a common "side effect" of these machines is waking up with dry mouth. If you use a CPAP machine and often wake up with a dry, cottony feeling in your mouth, it's important not to ignore this issue. Dry mouth is not just annoying. It allows for the proliferation of oral bacteria, which greatly increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Talk to your dentist about using one or more of these methods to manage your dry mouth.

Straps to Keep the Mouth Shut

Usually when CPAP patients wake up with a dry mouth, it's because they're breathing through their mouth (instead of their nose). The CPAP machine should blow a slow stream of air down the airway. With the mouth closed, this air ends up going down the nose. With the mouth open, it ends up traveling through the mouth and throat, drying them out in the process. Your dentist or respiratory therapist may be able to recommend a special strap that you can attach to your CPAP mask in order to keep your mouth closed and force you to breathe through your nose all night. This can take some time to get used to, but is very effective at alleviating dry mouth.

Saliva Stimulants

If your mouth continues to dry out even with a strap to keep your mouth shut, or if you cannot tolerate the strap, your dentist may recommend special lozenges to boost saliva production. Generally, you'll be told to suck on one or two of these at night before going to bed. They'll remain effective for a few hours, boosting saliva production throughout the night so your mouth does not become so dry.

Drinking More Water

One of the reasons your mouth is drying out could be that you're simply dehydrated. Thus, in addition to either of the treatments above, your doctor or dentist will likely recommend increasing your water intake. Experts recommend drinking 0.5 - 1.0 ounces per water per pound of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink between 75 and 150 ounces of water per day. On hotter days or days when you sweat more, aim for the higher end of this range. When you're well hydrated, your body will make more saliva.

If you're waking up with a dry mouth after using a CPAP machine, you're not alone. Talk to your dentist or someone at Sunshine Dentistry about this problem -- they can recommend a treatment that will work for you.