Have you ever woken up from a deep, dreamy sleep only to feel like you’ve got a wad of cotton in your mouth? “Cotton mouth,” more commonly and accurately known as dry mouth, is a common occurrence upon waking for many individuals. Many also wake with cracked lips, excessive and urgent thirst, and a burning or tingling of the tongue. In this article we will explain why this happens and what you can do about it.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

    Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, also known as xerostomia, which can be triggered by a number of things:

  • Certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Radiation treatments
  • As a part of aging

Frequent bouts with dry mouth are a problem because the reduction in saliva makes the mouth a primed breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria can then cling to teeth and gums, leading to infections that could progress to the point of tooth loss.

What Can Be Done About It?

It is a wise idea to confer with your doctor about any suspicion of mouth-breathing or snoring at night. If you have addressed these issues and still have dry mouth in the morning, consider adding these tips to your routine:

  • Drink enough water. If you’re not sure that you’re staying hydrated enough, you probably aren’t. Drink up!
  • Chew on sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies to help produce more saliva.
  • Use oral health products, like rinses and tooth pastes, that are designed for people with dry mouth.
  • If you are a smoker, now’s a great time to quit.
  • Minimize how much caffeine and alcohol you consume, particularly before bed.
  • Try to avoid spicy foods, as this can make dry mouth worse.

If this issue persists despite following all of the advice above, discuss with your dentist about what to do next.