7 Tips to Eliminate Dry Mouth during CPAP Use

My patients often complain that the CPAP is making their mouth dry, sometimes to a severe degree such that they can not keep the CPAP on all-night long. These are the suggestions I have given to them over last 20 years of my practice.

1. Treat nasal congestion. Dry mouth occurs when you breathe through the mouth as your nose gets plugged up at night because of dust, mold, pets, or food allergies. Get checked out and treated for these allergies.

2. Check the side effects of your medications. Nasal decongestants, several types of blood pressure medicines, and antidepressants can cause dry mouth. Talk to your pharmacist and doctor to see if you can switch these medications or at least take them in the morning.

3. Use the humidifier attachment of CPAP. Dial up the setting on the humidifier of your CPAP machine. If you still suffer from dryness, you can also place an extra humidifier next to the bed.

4. Try nasal pillows. Patients sometimes can reduce this dryness by using nasal pillows instead of a full face mask. You can add a chin strap if you are a mouth-breather.

5. Use nasal saline spray frequently. This is an over-the-counter product without any medicine in it, but is of great use as it not only moisturizes the nasal lining but also washes away the allergens and irritants. Keep the spray always on the nightstand. Use a couple of sprays in each nostril at bedtime and in the morning. You can use it when you wake up at night to use the restroom.

6. Consult an ENT specialist. This can help if you suffer from nasal obstruction because of a deviated septum or nasal polyps. Nasal obstruction will make you a mouth-breather, which in turn would make your mouth dry.

7. Stay hydrated. Drink water generously especially towards the evening to maintain good hydration.

If you follow these tips as applicable to your situation, dryness of mouth should abate. If it still continues to be a problem, talk to your doctor about other options.

Remember that an untreated sleep apnea increases your risk of uncontrolled blood pressure, elevated blood sugars, stroke, heart attack, and death. Please use CPAP every night.

Sleep Well, Live Well. God Bless You.