When people are diagnosed with sleep apnea and begin CPAP therapy, there is often a period of adjustment. While most CPAP masks and machines are designed to run quietly and provide comfort, there can be some problems – most of which can be remedied. Dry mouth happens to be one issue many CPAP users struggle with at times during therapy.
CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” A small, motorized unit creates this pressure and airflow, sending it through a tube into a CPAP mask. Pressurized air keeps the wearer’s throat open during sleep, preventing the stoppage of breathing.
People who wear nasal CPAP masks and sleep with their mouths open during sleep can experience dry mouth with CPAP therapy. This creates a much less effective therapy and also also causes dry mouth. For people who are mouth breathers, either a chinstrap or a full-face mask should be employed in order to optimize their therapy. The CPAP Shop sells a full line of different masks that is necessary since no single mask is right for everybody. Sometimes it takes a little experimenting to find the one that fits best and produces no unwanted physical effects, such as dry mouth.
Another tactic in preventing or eliminating dry mouth is to use a CPAP machine that utilizes a heated humidifier. Many doctors recommend this change to patients who are bothered by dry mouth, and in most cases they see a positive change immediately. A humidifier will add humidity and warmth to the pressurized air to provide a more comfortable and natural breathing environment for the user. All new machines have optional integrated humidification which is simple to attach and use.
If a person is using both a full face mask and a CPAP machine with a heated humidifier and is still experiencing dry mouth, an ill-fitted CPAP mask might be causing the problem. If leakage occurs, dry air from the room can get in, and humidified air from the tube can escape. The result is a big change in the air humidity within the mask and in the mouth.
Leakage can be caused by a mask that is to large or small, the cushion is degraded or simply because the mask’s straps aren’t adjusted correctly. If this isn’t the case, try washing your face before bed and then using a moisturizing cream. This can help create a better seal. But if the CPAP mask is simply the wrong style for your face, it might be necessary to find a new, better fitting mask.
Finally, beyond factors involving the CPAP machine and mask, dry mouth can also be caused or worsened by dehydration. The general recommendation to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day might be too little for many people. When people drink large amounts of coffee or other caffeine beverages, or sweat a lot during the day, making sure to rehydrate is an important part of CPAP therapy.
The CPAP Shop understands that that every person and every face is different. We aim to insure each person is fitted with the proper mask size and style for your individual needs. If you are using a mask that fits properly, use a machine with a heated humidifier, keep your mouth closed while you sleep and get enough water during the day, dry mouth should become less of an issue and allow CPAP therapy to do what it is supposed to do; help the user get a good night’s sleep.
If you have any questions about any of our CPAP equipment, don’t hesitate to call (866) 414-9700, or you can contact us through our website.