Dangerously Dry

Eating right and working out are two things that contribute to good health, but what about getting good sleep? Getting restful sleep is critical for staying healthy, but if you’re waking up with dry mouth regularly, how you sleep – or having a sleep disorder – may be causing problems with your health. 

What Is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth, known medically as xerostomia, is a health condition that develops when the salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist and comfortable. Dry mouth can happen during the day or night, and can negatively affect oral health and sleep.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

In many cases, dry mouth can be related to sleep habits, primarily mouth breathing. Mouth breathing can happen if your nasal passages are clogged due to things like allergies, an illness like the common cold or even a deviated septum.

Mouth breathing is also common among individuals living with sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. This is because the airway is blocked by some obstruction, such as the tongue or adenoids.

Some medications commonly prescribed for health conditions, including high blood pressure, allergies, sinus problems and emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression, can lead to dry mouth. Cancer treatments have also been linked to the development of dry mouth.

Other health risk factors may include aging, diabetes, the autoimmune condition Sjogren’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and the use of tobacco and alcohol.

Can You Prevent Dry Mouth?

There are a few different ways to prevent dry mouth, such as: 

  • Drinking more water
  • Using mouthwashes or rinses designed to alleviate dry mouth
  • Eliminating or reducing alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Stopping smoking (do it!)
  • Eliminating or cutting back on spicy and acidic foods
  • Using artificial saliva

While these things can help reduce the effects of dry mouth, the most effective way is to find out the root cause. Dr. Konig can help you find out if your condition is related to a sleep disorder or another oral health condition and provide you with treatment options to help you get comfortable again.

Why Is It Important to Treat Dry Mouth?

Saliva may seem gross, but it’s a vital body fluid. It helps to lubricate your mouth tissues, which makes talking, chewing and swallowing comfortable. It also has essential enzymes that help to break down the food we eat in the first level of the digestion process. Saliva also contains the minerals necessary to help strengthen your teeth against decay-causing bacteria. 

Want to treat your dry mouth? Call Dr. Ron Konig in Houston today at 713-668-2289.

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