We’ve already noted that sleep apnea can cause bad morning breath. But shouldn’t CPAP cure morning breath related to dry mouth during sleep? We would like to think so, especially since mouth drying overnight is associated with increased risk of cavities.
But for some people, treatment with CPAP can actually make morning breath worse. Here’s what to do if you’re one of those unfortunate people.
How CPAP Causes Dry Mouth
CPAP can cause dry mouth because it forces air into your body. When this air travels through your body, then exists, it carries with it much of the moisture your body is producing to keep your airways moist. It’s like putting a fan so it blows over a wet floor to dry it. The result can be a sometimes very serious, even painful dry mouth.
Although the drying happens anyway with CPAP, it can be made worse if your mask leaks, or if you have a nose-only mask and breath out of your mouth.
How to Avoid Dry Mouth with CPAP
If you experience dry mouth and very bad morning breath with CPAP, there are some strategies you should try to help keep your mouth moist rather than just giving up on CPAP altogether.
It’s always a good idea to make sure your mask is properly fitted. An improperly fitted mask can increase skin irritation, reduce efficiency of your CPAP, and, of course, increase drying.
Make sure you have your pressure adjusted properly. Too much pressure can cause unnecessary drying.
Most CPAP machines come with humidifiers or can have them added as an option. With Denver’s dry air, most patients who have CPAP probably already use a humidifier.
You can also try a different kind of mask. If you have a nose-only mask, you can try a full-face mask, for example.
You can also try techniques that help you keep your mouth closed during sleep. Some CPAP users use a chin strap to keep their mouth closed, while others go so far as to tape their mouth closed at night.
If these fail, there are dry mouth medications that can stimulate your body to produce extra saliva. This can help keep your mouth and airway from getting too dry.
Consider a CPAP Alternative
But if you’ve tried everything you want to try (it’s perfectly understandable if you don’t want to have to tape your mouth closed to keep it moist), maybe you should consider a different approach to treating your sleep apnea. Oral appliances allow you to treat sleep apnea without blow-drying your insides.
Oral appliances don’t hold your mouth open, despite what you may think. In fact, for them to work, you have to have your mouth closed. By helping you keep your mouth closed during sleep, oral appliances can help eliminate dry mouth and bad breath.
If you would like to learn whether an oral appliance can eliminate this and other side effects of CPAP, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver sleep dentist at the Center for TMJ Therapy & Sleep Treatment.