Dry mouth is one of the less dramatic symptoms that COPD patients sometimes experience, but it is uncomfortable and disruptive nevertheless, especially when it’s severe enough to interrupt your sleep.
The technical word for dry mouth is xerostomia. It can wake you up with the feeling that your tongue, mouth, and throat are completely dried out, making it difficult to swallow. During the day, it might be less severe, but the effect can still cause discomfort and make chewing and swallowing food uncomfortable.
Luckily, in many cases, contributing factors can be identified and controlled, tamping down the dry mouth phenomenon. In other cases, such as when an essential medication causes dry mouth, a change in some daily habits or the use of mouth-moisturizing products can help to significantly reduce your dry mouth symptoms.
Contributing Factors to Dry Mouth
Consider these factors that might be contributing to your dry mouth symptoms:
- You may be taking antibiotics for an infection, and if so, it is necessary to complete your prescribed medication. However, some antibiotics can contribute to or cause dry mouth.
- Many antidepressants contribute to dry mouth.
- If you have a cold or allergies and are taking antihistamines to manage your runny nose or watery eyes, the medication can also inhibit your body’s ability to produce mucus, which can contribute to dry mouth.
- Inhaled bronchodilators. Both short-acting and long-acting inhaled bronchodilators, particularly anticholinergic bronchodilators, inhibit the production of saliva by your salivary glands, which can create or worsen dry mouth.
- If you’re taking diuretics, most likely you know that they expel excess water from your body through urination. But you may not know that they also can reduce the activity of your salivary glands and cause or worsen dry mouth.
- Sometimes oral or inhaled corticosteroids can be prescribed to relieve breathlessness and they, too, can cause or contribute to dry mouth.
- Oxygen therapy. Medical oxygen is moisture-free, so using it can dry out your nasal passages, mouth, and
- CPAP Leakage. If you sleep with a CPAP, you could be experiencing dry mouth or worsened dry mouth symptoms due to air leaking out of your nasal mask or nasal pillow.
- Since ingestion of alcohol can reduce your intake of water, it can contribute to dehydration, which can cause dry mouth. Even if you drink as much water as usual in addition to your alcohol consumption, the alcohol can still cause your mouth to dry out.
- Spicy or Salty Foods. Both spicy and salty foods are known to initiate drying of the oral membranes.
Tips and Treatments for Alleviating Dry Mouth
- Medication Changes. If you’re taking medications to help control your COPD symptoms, it’s important to tell your doctor if you’re experiencing dry mouth. It could be that an adjustment in dosage or a switch to another brand or form of your medication will reduce or eliminate the symptoms that you’re experiencing.
- Dry Mouth Products. You might want to try one or more of the following over-the-counter products to help alleviate your dry mouth symptoms:
- Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse
- Oasis Mouthwash
- Biotene Dry Mouth Gel
- ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Lozenges
- Biotene Xylimelts
- Biotene Moisturizing Mouth Spray
- Daily Habits. Keep a water bottle with you at all times so that you can hydrate at the first sign of dry mouth. This can be especially helpful at night when dry mouth can progress to very uncomfortable levels before it wakens you from sleep.
- Humidifier Bottle Attachment for Medical Oxygen. If you’re using a continuous flow oxygen concentrator and you have dry mouth symptoms, you might want to try a humidifier bottle attachment, which adds moisture to the oxygen that you’re receiving.
- Stand-Alone Humidifier. A humidifier for your bedroom can go a long way toward reducing your dry mouth symptoms.
- CPAP Humidifier or Mask Adjustment. If you sleep with a CPAP machine and you experience dry mouth during the night, consider adding a heated humidifier attachment to your CPAP machine. If you currently use a nasal pillow, you might want to try switching to a face mask so that whether you sleep with your mouth open or not, you’ll still receive humidified air from your machine.
Information for this article was obtained from 1st Class Medical.
KEYWORDS: dry mouth, dry mouth and COPD, how to reduce dry mouth phenomenon, dry mouth during sleep, COPD and dry mouth, dry mouth treatments