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Awakening with a Dry Mouth or Sore Throat

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Middle-aged woman grabbing her throat in pain

If you are awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat, your sleeping habits could be to blame. You may be sleeping with your mouth open because of habit, clogged nasal passages, or another health condition. Or you could experience snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which can cause open mouth breathing and dry mouth.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth isn’t a disease in itself. It is a symptom of another problem. Symptoms of a dry mouth upon awakening include:

  • Thirst
  • A dry, sticky mouth
  • Chapped lips
  • Burning or tingling in the mouth or tongue
  • Bad breath

Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, or Xerostomia, is characterized by the lack of saliva. Saliva is a natural part of the digestive system that helps to break down foods and rinses the mouth of bacteria. Lack of saliva can cause difficulty tasting, chewing, swallowing, or even speaking. And without saliva, bacteria can stick to your teeth and lead to mouth infections and potential tooth loss.

Mouth breathing may be one thing to blame, but there can be underlying health issues as well. Some of the more common causes for dry mouth can include:

  • Medications
  • Smoking
  • Aging
  • Diseases like Parkinson’s disease or diabetes
  • Radiation treatments

How to Prevent Dry Mouth 

Try some of these immediate solutions for dry mouth:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva flow
  • Avoid acidic of spicy foods
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, especially at night
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Use mouth rinses and/or toothpaste designed for dry mouth
  • Maintain good oral hygiene
  • Quit smoking
  • Discuss mouth breathing or snoring with your doctor
  • Consider changing medications with dry mouth side effects
  • Use a humidifier at night to increase air moisture
  • Have water nearby the bed

Consider talking to a doctor about dry mouth or sore throat when awakening. There may be a simple solution! Contact Airway & Sleep Group for more information. 


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