What dry mouth may mean to you
SUMMARY: Dry mouth can mean many things, but can be a sign of a larger problem.
Posted: December 4, 2012
Do you ever wake up in the morning and feel like you need to slurp down a tall glass of water before doing anything else? It’s fairly common to get out of bed with dry mouth, but when it becomes extreme there may be more to it. Having a dried out mouth when you wake up in the morning can actually lead to bad breath, a sore throat, teeth sensitivity and more. While rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash that has alcohol in it could be causing this symptom, other things like sleep apnea can also be the cause.
Dry mouth is one of the first signs of sleep apnea - one of the most common sleep disorders where breathing is halted and then restarts again throughout your sleep. One can get obstructive sleep apnea, which means the airways temporarily collapse during sleep from aging or the progression of obesity. People that experience this often have low oxygen levels in the blood, high blood pressure, daytime drowsiness and headaches.
Many people tend to overlook dry mouth as a symptom of sleep apnea, but if you find your quality of sleep isn’t up to par and you feel tired throughout the day, this is likely the reason. During sleep, your facial muscles and mouth move abnormally. This causes breaks in your regular sleep pattern, and you may be waking up in the middle of the night because of dry mouth. If you feel like you need to wake up frequently to take a drink of water, it could be sleep apnea. Other symptoms of this disorder include loud snoring, morning headaches, observed episodes of pauses in breathing, excessive fatigue throughout the day, waking up with a sore throat, difficulty staying asleep and frequent trips to the bathroom.
If you are continually experiencing dry mouth, this can also be a symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome. Joint pain or swelling, skin rashes, dry eyes, persistent dry cough and dry mouth are just a few of the first symptoms of this illness. This is a disorder of the immune system that is often coupled with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of the eyes and mouth are typically the first affected parts of the body when experiencing this syndrome. Typically, individuals over the age of 40 are diagnosed with the disorder - and more commonly with women - but it is possible to get the disorder at any age.
Symptoms of dry mouth can also be a side effect of a medication that one is taking. This is often the case when someone is using prescription and nonprescription drugs to treat anxiety, depression, pain, allergies, colds, obesity, acne, nausea, asthma and more. Most obviously, dry mouth is a symptom of dehydration. Similarly, dry mouth tends to plague people who smoke or use chewing tobacco. These products affect the production of saliva, making a dry mouth. You ever notice someone that has smoker’s breath? Since they are not producing enough saliva, they get bad breath because the bacteria in the mouth isn’t washed down properly. Many people, even those who don’t smoke, will experience bad breath if they have dry mouth because of this reason. Making sure to keep up with proper oral health care, minimizing the intake of alcohol and acid, and drinking plenty of fluids will help battle dry mouth and bad breath.