Dry Mouth At Night Causes Treatment

Dry Mouth At Night: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Dry mouth at night is an extremely annoying problem. It can happen from time to time or regularly. While less frequency of the problem may not affect you negatively, you need treatment for the regular occurrence. Without treatment, the dryness of your mouth can affect your speech, eating, and swallowing abilities. It can also cause problems with your oral health. Dryness of mouth is also known as xerostomia. You must never ignore the condition. Without treatment, the condition can have serious recuperations. So, take action at the right time to avoid complications.

Understanding About Dry Mouth At Night

Saliva is necessary to moisten your mouth and cleanse it. It also plays an important role in chewing, swallowing, and digestion of food. The enzymes present in the saliva can aid in digestion. Saliva is also responsible for controlling bacterial and fungal growth in the mouth. Saliva is also essential to safeguard your oral health. It prevents tooth decay and other oral problems by neutralizing acids produced by the bacteria. So, it limits bacterial growth. Saliva also washes the food particles and keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Dry mouth at night

Without enough saliva, all these functions get affected. So, you can feel dryness in the mouth. It can make you uncomfortable. The decreased saliva production can appear as a minor nuisance to major complications in your life. It negatively affects your oral health and general health. The high frequency of dry mouth at night can affect your teeth and gums. You also find it difficult to eat and enjoy food. It can lead to malnutrition and other problem. Therefore, visit a doctor to determine the underlying reason for your condition. With apt treatment depending on the causes, you can manage the problem effectively.

Symptoms Of Dry Mouth At Night

Your mouth needs enough saliva to keep it moist. The inadequate saliva production can trigger several symptoms like:

  • Bad breath
  • Dry feeling in your mouth
  • Stickiness in the mouth
  • Stingy and thick saliva
  • Dry or grooved tongue
  • Trouble chewing
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Sore throat
  • A changed sense of taste
  • Grooved or dry tongue
  • Problems wearing dentures
  • Sleep problems

If you have chronic dry mouth at night, then seek treatment. It can affect your oral health and make you feel uncomfortable. With medical attention, you can handle the problem well.

Causes Of Dry Mouth At Night

In people over the age of 65, the condition is common. You can experience the problem at any time in your life due to some health issues or as a side effect of medication. But, age people suffer more from people. It is because older people can suffer from slow saliva production. The production of saliva reduces by 40% as you get older. But, if you suffer from the dry mouth at night, it indicates some problem with your salivary gland not working properly. The problem can occur due to the following causes:


Several medications, including the over-the-counter medication you take for common cold or nose block, can lead to dry mouth. So, the following medications used to treat different health conditions can cause the issue:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Antihistamines
  • Anxiety
  • Pain medicines
  • Decongestants

Before taking any medication, you need to ask your doctor about the side-effect associated with it.


Older people can experience the problem frequently. It occurs due to the use of certain medications, inadequate nutrition, the inability of the body to process the medications properly, and long-term health problems. So, older people are more vulnerable to the issue compared to the others.

Undergoing Cancer Therapy

Chemotherapy therapy drugs kill cancerous cells. But, it also changes the nature of your saliva. The drugs can influence the amount of saliva produced. A patient undergoing chemotherapy can experience dry mouth. The condition is temporary and the normal saliva flow returns after the completion of the treatment. Patients undergoing radiation therapy for head and neck can experience damage to the salivary glands. It can reduce saliva production. It is a temporary or permanent condition depending on the area of treatment and the radiation dose.

Nerve Damage

Nerve Damage

Any trauma to the head or neck region can result in nerve damage. It can cause abnormal working of the salivary glands. An injury or surgery can lead to nerve damage.

Underlying Health Problems

Underlying Health Problems

The dryness of your mouth can occur when you suffer from certain health problems. The condition causing abnormal saliva production are:

Breathing With Mouth

Breathing With Mouth
deviated septum

In normal cases, you breathe with your nose while sleeping. But, trouble taking breathe through the nose can lead to breathing through the mouth. It can cause snoring and dry mouth at night. In most cases, a deviated septum can cause breathing problems. You need medical attention to deal with the condition and promote breathing through the nose.

Excessive Tobacco And Alcohol Use

Drinking alcohol and chewing tobacco can make you susceptible to the dryness of mouth at night. These products can also cause other issues in your body.

Use Of Recreational Drugs

Brain Scan
Brain Scan

People using recreational drugs can experience severe dryness of the mouth. It also causes damage to teeth and gums. Methamphetamine is the most common recreational drug causing such a problem. It is also known as meth mouth. Using marijuana can also cause dryness of the mouth.

Complications Due To Dry Mouth At Night

Dry mouth at night is a condition that you need to talk to your doctor. Ignoring the problem can cause several complications. The inadequate saliva in your mouth can lead to the following problems:

  • Increased plaque production, leading to tooth decay and other dental problems (like gum disease)
  • Developing sores inside your mouth
  • Oral thrush (yeast infection in your mouth)
  • Cracked lips
  • Trouble chewing and swallowing leading to malnutrition

It is important to mention the issue to your doctor. You can work along with your doctor to change the lifestyle choices. Also, change the medications or their dose triggering the problem.

Diagnosis Of Dry Mouth At Night

When you experience dryness in your mouth frequently, then you need medical attention. It can signify an underlying problem requiring medical attention. So, to detect the issue conclusively, your doctor can suggest the following techniques:

Understand Medical History

You need to discuss your medical history with the doctor. Some underlying health problems like diabetes, thyroid medication, or certain medication can cause dryness of the mouth. You must also specify the use of over-the-counter medications as it can lead to the condition.

Examine Your Mouth

The doctor performs a physical examination of your mouth. When you suffer from dryness of mouth, the inner cheeks have a rough and dry appearance. In normal cases, the inner cheeks look shiny and moist. During the examination of the mouth, the doctor also examines your teeth. A pattern of tooth decay can point towards the severe dryness of your mouth.

Saliva Tests

Saliva tests are used to measure the saliva you can produce. The test involves rolling out your lower lip. It is then patted dry.

Blood Tests

It is to detect the presence of problems like diabetes or thyroid problems, which can result in dry mouth at night.

Imaging Tests

The doctor can suggest imaging tests for getting a clear image of the salivary glands. The imaging tests are useful in determining the problems that affect your salivary glands and reduce saliva production.


The sample cells from the salivary glands are sent to the laboratory for testing. A biopsy is a useful test in detecting problems like Sjogren’s syndrome.

Based on the diagnosis, your doctor can come up with the perfect treatment plan to manage the issue.

Lifestyle And Home Remedies To Deal With Dry Mouth

You need to consult your doctor to understand the underlying problem causing the dry mouth. But, along with the treatment suggested by the doctor, you can also try some home remedies. The tips suggested will help relieve the symptoms:

Sip Fluids Throughout The Day

You need to sip sugar-free fluids or water throughout the day. It will moisturize your mouth. Sucking ice chips can also offer relief from dryness at night. You need to drink more water during meals. It is to encourage better chewing and easing the swallowing of food. Dry mouth can make it difficult to chew food and swallow it properly. So, drink plenty of water (limit it to avoid overhydration).

Chew Gums

The saliva flow in the mouth increases when you eat or chew. It helps ease the swallowing of food. The saliva can also neutralize the acid while eating carbohydrates, which can lower the pH levels in the mouth. With a dry mouth, it becomes impossible to clear away food after eating. So, you can chew sugar-free gums to increase the saliva production in your mouth. It also stimulates the salivary glands to produce saliva that can neutralize the acids. You can also suck on sugar-free hard candies. Try to use products containing xylitol as it helps prevent cavities and tooth decay. Do not consume products with xylitol in large amounts as it can trigger gas or diarrhea.

Saliva Substitutes

Saliva substitute is the replacement if you suffer from dryness of the mouth. The artificial substitute is not a perfect substitute for saliva. But, it can offer temporary relief from symptoms associated with dry mouth. You can try some over-the-counter substitute to moisturize your mouth. Try to use products containing the following:

  • Xylitol
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose
  • Carboxymethylcellulose

Breathe Through Nose

Some people breathe through their mouth occasionally. It occurs due to problems like the cold. Such cases do not cause any concerns. But, some people experience medical conditions like sleep apnea. It can make them breathe through the mouth exclusively. Chronic mouth breathing needs immediate medical intervention. You need to get treatment for snoring. Re-training of how to breathe through your nose can help you prevent the complications associated with dry mouth.

Prevent Dryness In Room

The dryness in the room can suck the moisture content from your mouth and other parts of the body. It can make your skin dry and cracked. You can experience chapped lips due to the dry air in your room. So, use a humidifier while sleeping. It adds moisture content to the air at night. You must also use a moisturizing product to keep your skin and lips hydrated.

Refrain From Products Making Dryness Worse

You need to avoid products, which can make the symptoms worse. So, stay from food items, drinks, and medications leading to the dryness. You have to avoid the following to prevent dryness in your mouth.

Caffeine And Alcohol

Drink not to drink caffeinated beverages as it can make your mouth dry. Stay away from coffee or other caffeine beverages before going to bed. Try to avoid using a mouthwash containing alcohol. It can only make the dryness worse. All tobacco. If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop, because tobacco products can dry and irritate your mouth.


Some of the over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants you take to relieve the symptoms of the common cold can worsen the symptoms of dry mouth.

Prevention From Tooth Decay

Dry mouth at night increases your risk of developing tooth and gum problems. So, you need to take the following steps to prevent tooth decay and irritation in the mouth:

  • Limit your consumption of sugary and acidic food. Sugar in items like candies can increase the risk of bacterial development. It can result in tooth decay.
  • Refrain from consuming spicy food as it can irritate your mouth.
  • Brush with toothpaste containing fluoride toothpaste. You need to consult your dentist to get prescription fluoride toothpaste. You can also use toothpaste contains betaine to safeguard your teeth.
  • Use tooth gel containing fluoride to neutralize the acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. Apply it on your teeth before going to bed.
  • You need to use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime.
  • Make an appointment with your dentist twice a year. The professional examination will help detect any problems. It will avoid issues like plaque formation and tooth decay.

Medical Treatments For Dry Mouth At Night

If the home remedies fail to offer relief, then you need to see a dentist or physician get proper medical care. The cure prescribed by the doctor depends on the underlying cause of the dryness. So, treatment for the nighttime dryness of the mouth varies from one person to another. You have the following option to alleviate dry mouth at night:

Treat Medical Condition

An underlying health problem can trigger the dryness of your mouth during the night. So, it is important to manage the health issue to get relief from the dry mouth. The options available to manage the problem are:


High blood sugar can cause dryness of the mouth. So, you need to control the blood sugar levels with medication, diet, and exercise.


Cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy can experience dryness of the mouth due to the high-energy radiation or medication affecting your salivary glands. You need to talk to your doctor about the issue. You can get prescription medications like amifostine to reduce the effects.

Sjögren’s syndrome

You do not have a cure for the condition. But, you can manage the symptoms affecting the mouth with simple home remedies.

Change Medications

If you take the medication with side effects like dry mouth, then your doctor can prescribe another brand. The switching of medication can help you manage the condition. In some cases, adjusting the dose can offer positive results.

Moisturize Your Mouth

Dryness occurs when your salivary glands cannot produce enough saliva to moisturize the mouth. So, the doctor can prescribe over-the-counter or prescription products to moisturize the mouth. You can use the following items to overcome the dry mouth:

  • Mouth rinses
  • Moisturizers lubricating your mouth

Artificial Saliva

The products like mouthwash contain xylitol. It is designed especially to combat the dryness of your mouth. So, when you purchase an over-the-counter product, check the ingredient list to confirm the presence of xylitol in it. Using the moisturizing products for your mouth will help combat problems like tooth decay and ensure better oral health.

Medication To Stimulate Saliva

Severe cases of dry mouth during the night time can affect your sleep. It is a serious problem. So, your doctor prescribes medications to stimulate saliva. The medication can increase the saliva production in your mouth and prevent dryness, especially at night. So, you need to take medication containing pilocarpine or cevimeline to increase saliva in the mouth.

Protect Your Teeth

Dryness of your mouth can put you at risk of cavities. It will affect your teeth adversely. You can experience tooth decay or tooth loss as a result of the problem. To prevent cavities, your dentist can prescribe fluoride trays. You need to wear the tray filled with fluoride on the teeth during the night. It will prevent the growth of bacteria overnight due to the dryness of the mouth. The fitting of the fluoride tray can effectively combat cavities. The dentist also recommends the use of rinse containing chlorhexidine at least once a week to control cavities.


Septoplasty Splints
Septoplasty Splints

Some people experience dryness in the mouth due to a severely deviated septum. So, other methods to cure the problem may not prove effective. Only by managing the nasal problem, you can overcome the issue. Deviated septum makes it difficult to breathe properly while sleeping. So, you need to breathe with your mouth open. It makes your mouth dry at night. You need to undergo septoplasty, the invasive surgery to correct the deviated septum. It is a common procedure to correct the septum. The symptom associated with the nasal obstruction clear after undergoing the surgery.


Dry mouth at night is an annoying problem. It can also make you uncomfortable. Occasional cases of dryness can occur due to feeling nervous or dehydration. It rectifies when you drink more water or calm yourself. But, a persistent case of dryness points towards some problem. It requires medical attention. Ignoring the problem will only result in oral health issues. You can experience tooth decay or sleep issues due to the dryness in your mouth. These problems can affect your life negatively. With simple home remedies and lifestyle changes, you can avoid any negative effects on health. It is important to determine the underlying issue triggering the problem. Seeking treatment for the problem can help you manage the issue with ease.

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