CPAP, as we know, is one of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea as it effectively keeps the airways open, allowing the patient to breathe clearly. However, it is not without its side effects. Often, sleep apnea patients being treated with CPAP can be free from their sleep apnea symptoms, but they deal with a number of side effects. One of the most common side effects of CPAP is a dry mouth, and sometimes this dry mouth can be so severe that it causes patients to abandon therapy.
Dry mouth is usually caused by one of two reasons: one, because you’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping with your mouth open, or two, because your nose is congested and the airflow from the CPAP cannot get through. To avoid waking up with a dry mouth, you need to discover what is causing it and then you can address the problem as necessary.
If your dry mouth has been caused by bad habits, you need to try to get out of this habit. One of the easiest ways to do this is to wear a snoring chin strap, or to tie the ends of a pantyhose around your chin and at the top of your head. This will keep your mouth closed and force you to breathe through your nose. You could also try a full face CPAP mask, as remember; the goal is to keep going with treatment, not to abandon it. You should also make absolutely sure that your mask fits you properly, as any mask leaks will cause a dry mouth. The better-fitting the mask, the less side effects and the more effective the CPAP treatment.
If your dry mouth is caused by nasal congestion, you should try sinus irrigation or nasal spray to get rid of the congestion. Many patients use sinus irrigation on a regular basis and find that it increases the effectiveness of their CPAP therapy, plus, it’s very cheap. If your congestion cannot be solved with such treatments, speak to your sleep doctor to look into alternative therapies.
You should also always keep a glass of water by your bed so that you can lessen the dry feeling if you wake up in the middle of the night and as soon as you wake up in the morning. Also, you should be using a humidifier alongside your CPAP therapy. Air that flows through your airways in CPAP therapy actually has very low moisture, which can cause your mouth to dry out, so the use of a humidifier helps this air to be less dry, meaning that therapy is generally more comfortable for the patient and that you’ll be less likely to experience a dry mouth in the morning. Sometimes, machines come with a humidifier built into them, but other times you need to buy a separate humidifier. Using an insulated hose or hose cover will help to prevent any side effects of using a humidifier, such as rain-out.
A new product has recently come onto the market for dry mouth, named Xylimelts. It’s a product placed into the mouth that stimulates saliva, moisturizing your mouth and keeping it comfortable for hours. As a bonus, this product reduces harmful bacteria that flourish in a dry mouth, protecting you against bad breath, plaque, gum disease and tooth decay. Available in mint flavor to further stimulate saliva, or mint-free for those who don’t like mint. Buy it fromwww.oralhealth.com for $23.99.
If you’re still dealing with a dry mouth after trying all of the above, speak to your doctor.