How to Prevent CPAP Dry Mouth
As long as your dry mouth is from your CPAP and not from something else, such as any medication or another medical condition, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out how to prevent it! One option is to switch from a machine that only covers your nose to a full face machine. It will reduce the chance of you breathing out of only your mouth. If you prefer to keep using a mask that only covers your nose, it might be worth adding a chin strap. The strap wraps under your jaw, helping to hold your mouth closed during sleep.
Some CPAP machines feature heated humidifiers, which moisten the air that flows from the machine. If you're experiencing dry mouth or dry nasal passages when you wake up, it might be worth talking to your doctor to see if a CPAP with a humidifier is a good option for you.
Making sure your mask fits you properly may also prevent dry mouth from occurring. Your doctor can help fit the mask to your face or recommend a different option if your current mask isn't working right. Remember that tightening the straps on the mask isn't a reliable way to fix a leaking mask. You're likely to end up with pressure marks and bruises on your face.
As you adjust to wearing a CPAP, dry mouth medications can also help relieve this side effect. Oral sprays, gels, and rinses can help stimulate your mouth to produce more saliva, which is the main issue with dry mouth. You should definitely speak to your dental or medical professional about your dry mouth. But in the meantime, there are at-home treatments and lifestyle changes you can make. They range from chewing sugarless gum to reducing your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
Although a CPAP machine can effectively treat sleep apnea, the Journal of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery study notes that they have a relatively low adherence rate. It looked at research published over the past 20 years and found a non-adherence rate of 34.1%. So that's a significant reason to get your dry mouth solved sooner rather than later! You don't want there to be any reasons that could get in the way of you wearing your CPAP machine.
If your device is causing dry mouth or another discomfort, don't give up on it! Your dental or medical professional can help you. They can adjust your mask or find a machine style that treats your sleep apnea without drying out your mouth. In the meantime, keep up with your excellent oral hygiene habits, as those will play a role in your dry mouth too. Continue to brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth with an interdental device like floss or a water flosser once a day, and follow up with a rinse of mouthwash. You probably weren't expecting to have an oral health side effect from getting a device to help with your breathing, so we don't blame you for feeling some annoyance! But working out these kinks will have significant benefits in the long run - for your sleep, happiness, and overall health!