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5 Ways to Prevent Dry Mouth While Sleeping

We’ve all woken up with the annoying feeling of dry mouth. You’ve barely opened your eyes, and you notice your mouth feels like it’s full of cotton. It’s irritating but easily fixed with a glass of water and a thorough toothbrush session.

But for some people, this is a regular issue. Chronic dry mouth is called Xerostomia. It happens when your salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva to moisten your mouth. 

While awake, you can control this behavior by staying hydrated and swallowing more. You don’t notice your mouth drying out when you’re asleep, yet you wake up with the consequences.

The effects of dry mouth last long after you begin to produce saliva again. You may notice ongoing bad breath, excessive thirst, a dry, scratchy throat, and chapped lips. These are all signs that you need a lot more hydration in your body.

What’s causing your dry mouth, and how can you prevent it while you’re sleeping? Try these five tips to help you wake up without a mouth full of cotton!

1. Drink Water Before Bed

The best way to stay hydrated is to keep sipping on water all day. Two or three cups per hour wash the toxins through your body and fill your cells will the fluid they need to work optimally. If you exercise or are outside in the heat, drink even more.

However, if you’re not a big drinker, you should still have a glass of water before bedtime if you want to avoid dry mouth in the morning. An extra eight ounces should get your salivary glands enough liquid to keep working while you sleep.

2. Brush Before Bed

Brushing your teeth twice a day is the standard routine most of us try to abide by. Technically, you should brush after any meal to get the bacteria and food particles out of your mouth. 

Still, at a minimum, brushing in the morning removes the overnight germs and bad breath, so we usually remember to do that easily. Brushing at night is crucial, as it removes the buildup of food and bacteria you’ve accumulated all day.

Going to bed with a clean mouth means fewer germs for your saliva to have to wash away and less dry mouth in the morning!

3. Skip the Salt, Caffeine, and Alcohol

These three ingredients force your body’s saliva production or kidneys to work harder than necessary to flush them out of your system. 

Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, increasing how much water is released in your urine. Salt creates more sodium than your body needs, and your kidney uses extra water pulled from the cells to neutralize the sodium.

The same idea applies to foods that are spicy or acidic. It takes a lot of water for your body to neutralize the ingredients, and if you’re not drinking enough fluids, you tend to dehydrate overnight.

4. Don’t Smoke

While the list of reasons you shouldn’t smoke already seems endless, you can add “dry mouth” to it. The chemicals produced by smoking affect every system in your body. 

Each organ, including your skin, pulls water from your cells to compensate. Eventually, this leads to dehydration, which is why so many long-term smokers have wrinkles and yellowed skin.

5. Use Oral Appliances for Better Sleep

Are you a chronic snorer? Do you grind your teeth and clench your jaw in your sleep? If so, some oral appliances can help you sleep better and skip the morning dry mouth.

Nasal strips, available over the counter at most drug stores, keep your nostrils from closing as you sleep and prevent snoring and dry mouth. Custom night guards reduce the damage of clenching and grinding (bruxism) and are easily ordered through the mail at JS Dental Lab.

Talk to your doctor if your dry mouth symptoms are from a serious sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These can cause cottonmouth, but, more importantly, they can be dangerous and even deadly.

If you’re diagnosed with a sleep disorder, you may be eligible for a CPAP machine or another device that can improve your sleep and overall health.


A dry mouth is never enjoyable, but it’s an occasional irritation easily fixed for most people. When you find yourself frequently waking up to this annoying feeling, it could be something more serious.

Try these simple tips to combat the morning cottonmouth experience. If they don’t work, talk to your doctor or dental professional to see if there’s something else happening in your body that’s causing the issue.