Home / Blog April 23, 2024

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Causes and Remedies For Waking Up With A Dry Mouth

In this blog, we discuss why you wake up with a dry mouth sometimes. We delve into the causes, symptoms, and remedies for “dry mouth” and, most importantly – when you should seek medical attention.

waking up with dry mouth


Mouth-breathing, dehydration, and some medications can cause dry mouth.

Remedies include staying hydrated, using humidifiers, and practicing good oral hygiene.

Accompanying symptoms like difficulty swallowing and mouth sores warrant medical attention. 

Did you know?
Over 400 commonly prescribed medications, including antidepressants, list dry mouth as a side effect!

Ever wondered why you wake up with a dry mouth in the morning? The sensation of dryness can be more than just a passing inconvenience; instead, it may be a signal of underlying factors affecting your oral health. In the next few sections, we delve into the causes, symptoms, and solutions to tackle the common experience of waking up with a dry mouth.

Let’s dive in!

What Is “Dry Mouth”?

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a condition that usually shows up due to a lack of sufficient saliva in the mouth. Saliva is crucial in maintaining oral health by helping with digestion, preventing tooth decay, and keeping the mouth moist for comfortable speaking and swallowing.

Dry Mouth Symptoms

The symptoms of dry mouth may vary in intensity and can affect your overall oral health and well-being. These symptoms can include:

  • A dry or sticky sensation in the mouth
  • Dry, cracked, or crusty lips in the morning
  • Increased persistent thirst
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness or dry throat
  • Changes in taste, such as a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty speaking, as reduced saliva can make it difficult to articulate words clearly
  • Increased dental issues
  • Mouth sores
  • Cracked or red corners of the mouth 

Now that you know the most common symptoms of dry mouth, let’s look at what could cause this issue.

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What Causes Dry Mouth When Waking Up?

Dry mouth upon waking up, also known as “morning mouth,” is a common phenomenon that can be attributed to several factors. These include:

1. Reduced Saliva Production During Sleep: Saliva flow naturally decreases when you’re sleeping. Reduced swallowing and the absence of food and drink intake can cause your mouth to feel drier when you wake up in the morning.

2. Breathing Through the Mouth: Breathing through your mouth while sleeping can contribute to dryness, which is often associated with nasal congestion or other respiratory issues.

3. Dehydration: Overnight, your body can become mildly dehydrated, especially if you haven’t consumed water for an extended period. Dehydration can lead to reduced saliva production and a dry mouth upon waking.

4. Sleeping with an Open Mouth: Some people naturally sleep with their mouths open, allowing air to pass over the mouth’s surface and contribute to dryness. This is usually accompanied by cracked or “crusty” lips upon waking.

5. Medications: If you take medications that cause dry mouth as a side effect, the impact may be more noticeable when you wake up after a night of reduced saliva production. Some of these medications include anticholinergics, antidepressants, and commonly prescribed mood stabilizers

6. Underlying Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or Sjögren’s syndrome, can be associated with dry mouth and may be more noticeable in the morning. With Sjögren’s syndrome, in particular, your mouth will have a chalky taste that makes it hard to swallow or taste your food properly.

Despite all of these causes, simple lifestyle changes can help you sleep and wake up without a dry mouth. In the next section, we will discuss these in depth.

How To Stop Waking Up With A Dry Mouth

If you frequently wake up with a dry mouth, there are several strategies you can try to alleviate this condition. Here are some tips:

1. Stay Hydrated: Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, and only cut off drinks between 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. Proper hydration can help maintain saliva production.

2. Use a Humidifier: If the air in your bedroom is dry, consider using a humidifier. This can add moisture to the air and prevent your mouth from becoming excessively dry during the night.

3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue before bedtime. Use fluoride toothpaste, and consider using an alcohol-free mouthwash. Good oral hygiene can help maintain a healthy oral environment.

4. Avoid Mouth-Breathing: If you tend to breathe through your mouth while sleeping, it can contribute to dryness. Address any nasal congestion or allergies that may be causing mouth-breathing. Although only anecdotal, most people have reported benefits of mouth taping when sleeping.

5. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Before Bed: Both caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration. Try to limit their consumption, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.

6. Avoid Spicy or Acidic Foods: These food items can sometimes exacerbate dry mouth by causing a burning or tingling sensation. By avoiding these foods, you can reduce the likelihood of triggering additional dryness or discomfort.

7. Chew Sugar-Free Gum or Suck on Sugar-Free Candy: Chewing gum or sucking on sugar-free candy can stimulate saliva production and help keep your mouth moist.

8. Evaluate Medications: If you suspect that medications may be contributing to your dry mouth, discuss this with your healthcare provider. They may be able to adjust your dosage or recommend an alternative medication that does not leave you with a dry mouth.

9. Treat Underlying Medical Conditions: If dry mouth is associated with an underlying medical condition, such as Sjögren's syndrome or sleep apnea, addressing the primary condition may help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.

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Sleep Hygiene Tips For Dry Mouth

While there isn’t a specific sleep position that guarantees the prevention of waking up with dry mouth, some sleep practices may help reduce the likelihood of experiencing this condition. Consider the following tips

Sleeping on Your Side: Sleeping on your side may help prevent the mouth from falling open during sleep, a habit that can contribute to dry mouth. This position can also promote better airflow through the nose, reducing the likelihood of mouth-breathing. Consider using a body pillow like our Cuddler, to facilitate proper spinal alignment while sleeping on your side.

Using Pillows to Elevate the Head: Elevating your head with pillows can encourage better nasal breathing and may reduce the tendency to breathe through the mouth. This can be particularly helpful if nasal congestion is a contributing factor to dry mouth.

If your dry mouth persists despite trying these strategies, consult with a healthcare professional or dentist. But you may be wondering, “How do I know that it’s time to see a doctor?”... This is what we discuss in the next section.


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When To See A Doctor

It’s advisable to see a doctor or healthcare professional if you are experiencing severe dry mouth, especially if it’s accompanied by other concerning symptoms. Here are some situations in which you should seek medical attention:

  • Persistent symptoms of “dry mouth”
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking upon waking
  • Signs of dehydration, such as dark urine, dizziness, or infrequent urination
  • If the dry mouth symptoms began after taking certain medications
  • Signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, or sores in your mouth
  • Other symptoms like changes in appetite, fatigue, or persistent bad breath
  • Existing health conditions like Sjögren's syndrome, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders
  • Dental issues, such as cavities or gum disease 

Remember that dry mouth can have various causes, and determining the underlying reason is crucial for effective treatment. A healthcare professional can conduct a thorough evaluation, take your medical history, perform necessary tests, and provide guidance on managing or treating the condition based on the specific circumstances.


Waking up with a dry mouth is a common and manageable issue. While lifestyle adjustments such as staying hydrated, using a humidifier, and practicing good oral hygiene can provide relief, persistent or severe symptoms warrant professional medical attention.

If dry mouth interferes with daily life, leads to difficulty swallowing or speaking, or is associated with other concerning symptoms, seeking the guidance of a healthcare professional or dentist is advisable for a thorough evaluation and personalized management plan.