Dry mouth and its impact on a good night’s sleep happens to be a common issue some CPAP users struggle with at times during therapy. A dry mouth or throat leads to various nasal problems such as congestion and soreness, so it is imperative that any CPAP understand the causes of this issue.
CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” A device known as a CPAP machine send a pressurized airflow into a mask through a tube. This pressurized air helps to keeps the wearer’s throat open during sleep, preventing the stoppage of breathing.
Dry mouth is a normal occurrence for people who just start out on CPAP therapy because they are not used to air blowing in to the throat to hold open. Dry mouth is exacerbated for people who wear nasal CPAP mask and whose jaw drops open during sleep. Not only does this create a much less efficient therapy because of leakage, it also causes dry mouth. There are a couple solutions to help prevent this type of problem.
- A simple solution would be to wear a chinstrap which essentially holds the jaw in place.
- A second solution would be a switch to a full face mask which covers both the nose and mouth. Although this is another easy solution, using a full face mask for some could seem claustrophobic or confining. There is no silver bullet solution as no single mask is right for everybody. Sometimes it takes a bit of experimentation to find CPAP mask which best meets your needs as well as fits comfortably
- Another tactic is to use a humidifier on your CPAP machine Most new CPAP machines have integrated humidifiers. In fact, the ResMed AirSense 10 has a built in humidifier. Others have an attachable humidifier. Humidification is key when dealing with symptoms of dry mouth because the humidifier can supply both warm and room temperate air. At The CPAP Shop, we always recommend using the humidifier to add even a small amount of humidity in the airflow. This will help nasal passages to stay hydrated.
- 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. Leakage can be caused by a mask that is to large or small, the wrong style mask, the cushion is degraded or simply because the mask’s straps aren’t adjusted correctly. If leakage occurs, dry air from the room can leak in while humidification escapes. The result is reduced humidification within the circuit and resulting in dry throat and mouth.
- 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.
When people are diagnosed with sleep apnea and begin CPAP therapy, there is often a period of adjustment. With any change to a person’s nightly routine, understanding what changes need to be made and adapting to those changes will provide a baseline for improvement. CPAP therapy is no different as beginning therapy requires changes and adjustments. New styles and fit have made CPAP masks a much less cumbersome and easier transition. They have become very comfortable, less invasive and better quality. CPAP machine technology has reached a level that noise is a non-issue and size has shrunk to alarm clock levels. Companies are using state of the art technology to meet an increasingly knowledgeable and demanding consumer.
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.