Dry Mouth at Night: Causes, Anxiety, Diabetes, Treatment

Dry mouth is a well-known condition that frequently occurs at night. It is caused when the salivary glands do not produce enough moisture to keep the mouth wet. Saliva is essential as it helps the mouth to naturally combat the acids and bacteria that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. An absence of saliva during the night is not only uncomfortable, but it can also disturb sleep and negatively affect oral health.
There are common symptoms of dry mouth at night which includes:

  • Frequently waking up in the middle of night to drink water.
  • Waking up in the morning with a dry mouth.
  • Dry lips and throat in the morning.
  • Thick, stringy or foamy saliva in the morning.
  • A constant sore throat.
  • Burning or cracked tongue.
  • Halitosis or bad breath.

What is the Cause of Dry Mouth at Night

A good night’s sleep is important for good health, but that peaceful slumber can be difficult to achieve if you frequently wake up with dry mouth. The causes of xerostomia, the medical term for dry mouth, can vary, but during the night time hours.
Lack of saliva is most often caused by sleeping with your mouth open or snoring. Emotional causes, such as stress, and side effects to medications can also play a factor. In fact, research has it that more than 400 medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, list dry mouth as a possible adverse side effect.
Some of the causes of dry mouth at night may include the following:
Several medications, including many over-the-counter drugs, produce dry mouth as a side effect. Among the more likely types to cause problems are some of the drugs used to treat depression, nerve pain and anxiety, as well as some antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications.
The aging process doesn’t necessarily cause dry mouth at night. However, older people are more likely to take medications that may cause dry mouth, and they’re more likely to have other health conditions that can cause dry mouth.
Cancer therapy
Chemotherapy drugs can change the nature of saliva and the amount produced. This may be temporary; with normal salivary flow returning after treatment has been completed. Radiation treatments to your head and neck can damage salivary glands, causing a marked decrease in saliva production. This can be temporary or permanent, depending on the radiation dose and area treated, hence dry mouth at night.
Nerve damage – An injury or surgery that causes nerve damage to your head and neck area can result in dry mouth.
Other health conditions – Dry mouth at night can be a consequence of certain health conditions, including the autoimmune disease Jorgen’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS. Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease may cause a perception of dry mouth, even though the salivary glands are functioning normally. Snoring and breathing with your mouth open also can contribute to dry mouth.
Tobacco use – Smoking or chewing tobacco can increase dry mouth symptoms.
Methamphetamine use – Methamphetamine use can cause severe dry mouth and damage to teeth, a condition also known as “meth mouth.”
Mouth-breathing is the primary culprit of producing a dry mouth at night. Breathing through your mouth is commonly triggered by the following:

  • Use of bite splint, dental retainers, or other orthodontic appliances.
  • Wearing a CCAP mask as part of treatment for sleep apnea.
  • Snoring due to an allergy or cold can cause tissue in the nose to swell, so you’re more likely to breathe through your mouth at night.
  • Breathing difficulties – blocked nasal passage due to chronic sinusitis, maxillary antrolith, or a deviated nasal septum.

Additionally, all of these concerns can be exacerbated by a dry atmosphere induced by central heating or air conditioning. Whatever the cause, there are a number of simple home remedies that can help people who suffer from dry mouth at night to alleviate the symptoms.

Is Dry Mouth at Night Anxiety Symptom?

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety are considered serious irritants. They may not lead to concerns about your overall health – sometimes the symptoms are simply annoying, and symptoms that you wish you didn’t have to deal with so often. Dry mouth at night is an example of this type of symptom. As per the name, dry mouth is when your mouth simply feels dry, and millions of people suffering from anxiety deal with dry mouth every day.
Is Your Dry Mouth due to Anxiety?
Dry mouth can have many causes, and anxiety is one of them. Speak to your doctor, and also make sure you take anxiety symptoms test, where you can score your anxiety severity, see how your symptoms compare to others, and receive data on how to solve it.
Understanding dry mouth from anxiety is difficult when you look at the symptom on its own. Generally, there are several issues that lead to this dry mouth feeling from anxiety, and any or all of them may relate to your dry mouth. These include:

  • Mouth Breathing Air has a tendency to dry out the mouth, and those with anxiety are tremendously prone to mouth breathing. Often this type of breathing is the response to severe anxiety symptoms, like those that occur during an anxiety attack. Mouth breathing can be irritating to the saliva, and may dry out your tongue in a way that feels like dry mouth is occurring.
  • Acid Backup Those with acid reflux problems may also be more prone to dry mouth at night. This is because during periods of intense anxiety, the body is more prone to acid reflux, and acid can affect the salivary glands and lead to less saliva and the feeling of a dry mouth. It may also lead to a sticky feeling and bad taste, both of which are considered dry mouth related.
  • Fluid Changes In some cases, the issue may be with the way your body moves around fluid when you’re experiencing severe anxiety. When your fight or fight system is activated, your body makes take fluids and move them to the areas they feel need them more. That may dry out your mouth as well.
  • Dehydration Some dry mouth may genuinely be because you have a dry mouth. Those that aren’t drinking enough water are more prone to severe anxiety symptoms. Beyond that, those with anxiety are more likely to notice unusual physical sensations, meaning that if you have anxiety you’re more likely to notice that your mouth is dry then when you don’t.

Dry mouth is too subjective to provide a definitive cause for, but there are many potential reasons that anxiety may lead to dry mouth. It’s even possible for someone to not have a dry mouth at night in any way, but to be so aware of the way they feel that they believe they do. This is a common problem for those with panic attacks.

Is Dry Mouth at Night Diabetes Sign

One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is dry mouth, or xerostomia. It is a common symptom in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Not everyone with diabetes will experience it, though. You can also have dry mouth if you don’t have diabetes though. If you have dry mouth and suspect you might have diabetes, you should talk to your primary care doctor.
Anyone can get dry mouth, but it is a common symptom for type 1 and 2 diabetes. The exact reasons are unknown, but high blood sugar levels could cause dry mouth at night in people with diabetes. Some medications used to treat diabetes can also cause dry mouth.
You may be able to improve your symptoms of dry mouth at home. Some home remedies include:

  • avoiding food and drinks with a lot of sugar, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners
  • drinking a lot of water
  • flossing after every meal
  • eating high-fiber fruits and vegetables
  • using toothpicks to scrape excess plaque off your teeth
  • using alcohol-free mouthwash
  • chewing gum
  • brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • sucking on mints that contain xylitol, which freshens the breath

You’ll need to identify the underlying cause to treat dry mouth. If your blood sugar is causing dry mouth, managing your blood sugar levels should help improve your symptoms. If you suspect a medication you’re taking is the cause, talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a different medication or adjust your dosage.
You should also regularly visit your dentist. Regular cleaning can improve your oral health, which may also have a positive impact on dry mouth.
Lowering blood sugar levels can have a huge impact on improving dry mouth. You can decrease blood sugar through the following lifestyle habits:

  • consuming low-sugar foods and drinks
  • consuming high-fiber foods
  • eating a diet high in healthy fats and proteins
  • take medications as prescribed
  • monitor your glucose regularly

Scientists are also investigating new ways of treating diabetes. A 2016 study found that oral moisturizing jelly reduced symptoms of dry mouth in 118 older adults who were experiencing dry mouth. More research is necessary, but this initial study’s findings are promising.

Reason for a Constant Dry Mouth

Saliva production is an important bodily function as it helps protect the mouth from infection by controlling bacteria, keeping the mouth moist and clean, and neutralizing the acids produced by dental plaque. Constant dry mouth at night affects about 20% of all people in the world and is more prevalent in women than men.
The feeling of dry mouth reduces quality of life, but there are two consequences of dry mouth that are even worse. First, dry mouth disturbs sleep because saliva flow is always lowest while sleeping, which affects quality of life all day long. Second, dry mouth causes rampant tooth decay.
Complications from Dry Mouth
Many people suffering from dry mouth often don’t notice it until their saliva levels drop by 50%. If you have a constant dry mouth at night, this can contribute to both minor and serious health problems.
Common problems stemming from dry mouth include serious tooth decay, disturbed sleep, as dry mouth is worst at night, a constant burning sensation in the throat, difficulty speaking or swallowing, dry nasal passages, gum disease, and oral infections.

Can you get an Extreme Dry Mouth

Extreme dry mouth is not just uncomfortable; it can also put you at risk for oral health problems such as tooth decay and gingivitis. Normally, the saliva in your mouth washes away food particles neutralizes acids that can attack tooth enamel and helps control the bacteria in your mouth.
With dry mouth at night, there is not enough saliva to protect your teeth and gums from bacteria. You may notice problems with bad breath, sore throats and difficultly speaking or swallowing.
Because a lack of saliva makes your mouth more susceptible to decay and disease, taking good care of your teeth and gums is essential. Brush your teeth in the morning and evening to help reduce mouth germs and fight plaque.
Flossing daily is also essential for removing plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gum line. Visit your dentist regularly. He can help you manage dry mouth, but also examine your mouth for early signs of tooth decay and gum disease.

Home Remedies for Dry Mouth

Home remedies for dry mouth aim at addressing the cause and relieving the symptoms. Dry mouth symptoms can be treated at home with simple lifestyle changes and home treatments.  Home remedies for dry mouth help stimulate production of saliva or coat the mouth to keep it hydrated. They are easy to find, use and have no side effects when used as treatment for dry mouth.  Here are top effective home remedies for dry mouth at night and throat
Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is one of the best home remedies for dry mouth.  It is however, very hot and may not be a good option for people who are known to be sensitive to hot foods. It stimulates the production of saliva. Pick some ground cayenne pepper with a wet finger and rub it on the inside of your mouth
Cayenne pepper can also be found in capsule form but you should consult your doctor before using this as a home remedy for dry mouth especially if you are on anticoagulants – it may increase the risk of bleeding associated with some blood thinning medications.
It is very good and effective at stimulating saliva production. Ginger can be used in different forms to treat dry mouth: roots, capsules, oils and extracts. Steep 2 tablespoons of ginger root in a cup of water and use it as a mouth rinse and slowly chew small piece of fresh ginger several times a day. Ginger can be very hot and irritating to some people. It is best to use it tea form with honey if you are sensitive to hot foods.
Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds stimulate the flow of saliva to hydrate the mouth. They also revive the taste buds and have a refreshing flavor that helps to get rid of bad breath. Eat a handful of fennel seeds several times a day to prevent dry mouth by stimulating saliva or try mixing equal parts of fennel seeds with fenugreek
Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is relieving symptoms of dry mouth. It has moisturizing properties that help to soothe and coat the mouth and lips to keep it moist. It is also high in vitamin E making it good for faster healing of mouth sores. Using fingers, rub a little grape seed oil on the inside of your mouth and you should do this every night before going to bed. In the morning, rinse out the grape seed oil before brushing your teeth.
Using grape seed oil to prevent dry mouth at night also prevents bacterial activity on teeth as it creates a protective coat on teeth.
Oil Pulling
It keeps the mouth moist. Oil pulling can be done using any vegetable oil such as coconut or sesame oil. It is an ancient practice that has been used to treat dry mouth and promote good oral hygiene. In the morning when you wake up, take a glass of water to start the flow of saliva. Using any oil of your choice put a tablespoon in your mouth .Swish and swirl around the mouth for 10 minutes until the oil turns thin and whitish, pit and rinse your mouth with warm water before brushing your teeth
Prickly Ash Relief
Prickly ash is a tree native to North America. The bark of this tree is used in giving relief from dry mouth symptoms and for long lasting fresh breath. It is also stimulates the salivary glands helping to moisten the mouth works well for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Add 15 drops of prickly ash tincture to ¼ cup of water and take this mixture several times daily to alleviate the symptoms of cotton mouth.
Lemon stimulates production of saliva and helps to keep the mouth moist. It is also acidic in nature helping to cleanse the mouth and get rid of bad breath. Squeeze half a lemon and extract the juice, Add this with a little honey to a glass of water, Take little sips of this drink several times throughout the day to keep your mouth hydrated and Lemonade can also be ,made and used in the same way to relieve dry mouth

How to Treat Dry Mouth at Night

The best way to treat dry mouth depends on what’s causing it. You can do some things to relieve dry mouth temporarily. But for the best long-term dry mouth remedy, you need to address its cause.
To relieve your dry mouth:

  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. For some people, xylitol, which is often found in sugar-free gum or sugar-free candies, may cause diarrhea or cramps if consumed in large amounts.
  • Limit your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier.
  • Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
  • Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Sip water regularly.
  • Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes — look for products containing xylitol
  • Try a mouthwash designed for dry mouth — especially one that contains xylitol, such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Rinse, which also offer protection against tooth decay.
  • Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants because they can make your symptoms worse.
  • Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
  • Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.

Saliva is important to maintain the health of your teeth and mouth. If you frequently have a dry mouth, taking these steps to protect your oral health may also help your condition:

  • Avoid sugary or acidic foods and candies because they increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste. Ask your dentist if you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice yearly to detect and treat tooth decay or other dental problems.

If these steps don’t improve your dry mouth, talk to your doctor or dentist. The cause could be a medication or another condition. Medications are one of the most common causes of dry mouth. Long-term relief from your dry mouth may mean stopping or changing your medication or its dosage, or addressing underlying health issues.
More references

  1. Dry mouth causes: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/187640.php
  2. How to relieve dry mouth discomfort: http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/dry-mouth/article/dry-mouth-at-night-how-to-relieve-dry-mouth-discomfort-0913
  3. How anxiety causes dry mouth and what to do: http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/dry-mouth
  4. Dry mouth and diabetes: http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/dry-mouth-diabetes#Overview1