Dry Mouth at Night: Causes & Treatment

Dry mouth is a common condition that frequently occurs at night. It is caused when the salivary glands do not produce enough moisture to keep the mouth wet. Saliva helps the mouth to naturally combat the acids and bacteria that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. An absence of saliva during the night is not only uncomfortable, but it can also disturb sleep and negatively affect oral health.


White Tongue
Dry Mouth at Night.
Credit: NIDCR

Typical symptoms of dry mouth at night include:

  • Frequently waking up in the middle of night to have to drink water.
  • Waking up in the morning with a dry mouth.
  • Dry lips and throat in the morning.
  • Thick, stringy or foamy saliva in the morning.
  • A constant sore throat.
  • Burning or cracked tongue.
  • Halitosis, or bad breath.


Mouth-breathing is the primary culprit of producing a dry mouth at night. Breathing through your mouth is commonly triggered by the following:

  • Use of bite splint, dental retainers, or other orthodontic appliances.
  • Wearing a CPAP mask as part of treatment for sleep apnea.
  • Snoring due to an allergy or cold can cause tissue in the nose to swell, so you’re more likely to breathe through your mouth at night.
  • Breathing difficulties – blocked nasal passage due to chronic sinusitis, maxillary antrolith, or a deviated nasal septum.

Additionally, all of these concerns can be exacerbated by a dry atmosphere induced by central heating or air conditioning. Whatever the cause, there are a number of simple home remedies that can help people who suffer from dry mouth at night to alleviate the symptoms.


While there is no way of preventing dry mouth at night without addressing the underlying causes, there are a number of simple antidotes and lifestyle changes that may prove effective in helping those with symptoms of dry mouth find relief. These include:

  • Use humidifier to improve room air moisture levels.
  • Try nasal strips to make it easier to breathe from your nose.
  • Making dietary changes to avoid foods that can exacerbate the condition. Acidic or spicy foods can be particularly irritating.
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evening, as both act to dry out the mouth.
  • Quitting (or cutting back on) tobacco use.
  • Having a renewed focus on oral hygiene. Proper care of the teeth includes brushing twice per day and flossing.
  • Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Chewing mint or parsley during the day.

While these tips and tricks can help temporarily relieve the symptoms of dry mouth at night, they can also be paired with other remedies for improved results. 


Product Long-Lasting Use while sleeping All-Natural Feels good Neutralizes Acids
Oral Adhering Discs X X X X X
Dry mouth sprays X
Dry mouth mouthwash X
Dry mouth gum X
Dry mouth toothpaste X

In conjunction with the remedies listed above, many people who suffer symptoms of dry mouth turn to saliva substitutes and stimulants for more complete relief. Saliva substitutes include water, artificial saliva, or other liquids or oils. Also quite common are saliva stimulants, which simply work to promote the body's natural saliva-producing ability. Sugar-free gum or mints encourage saliva production, as can prescription saliva stimulants. There are also over-the-counter saliva stimulants and dry mouth products available, such as OraCoat® XyliMelts® oral adhering discs for dry mouth.

XyliMelts oral adhering discs slowly release 500 mg of xylitol throughout the night to increase saliva and coat the mouth with a soothing oral lubricant to moisturize and lubricate the mouth. Because they adhere on teeth or gums, XyliMelts discs can be safely used at night while sleeping and work all night to combat the negative effects of dry mouth. Using XyliMelts discs at night while sleeping when saliva is lowest, is the most effective per gram delivery of xylitol to help reduce the risk of caries.