What Causes Dry Mouth In The Morning?
Causes for dry mouth in the morning can range from excessive snoring due to sleep apnoea to having swollen and inflamed sinus passages because of an allergy. Other common reasons for morning dry mouth include excessive caffeine, sugar or alcohol consumption prior to falling asleep, nasal polyps that obstruct airways and taking medications that reduce the ability for salivary glands to produce sufficient saliva during sleep.
Anyone of these problems will impede your ability to breathe normally while you sleep, i.e., through your nose instead of your mouth, which results in an excessive amount of air being inhaled and exhaled through the mouth.
Mouth breathing dries out the mouth and this is made worse by the fact that salivary glands reduce the amount of saliva they secrete during sleep.
Why does having a dry mouth during the night cause your breath to smell so bad in the morning? The answer to this question is the same answer that correctly explains why we have bad breath at all… anaerobic bacteria.
Within the human mouth live billions of bacteria, some beneficial, some not so beneficial. While anaerobic bacteria are responsible for consuming any mouth debris that does not get rinsed away by saliva flow or removed via good oral hygiene practices, they are also responsible for the excretion of gases that give “bad breath” its name.
Mouth debris such as food particles, mucus, dead tissue and blood that often seeps from canker sores, lesions, abscesses and gums infected with gingivitis provide protein-rich food from which these bacteria receive their energy. Because oral anaerobes do not possess the enzymes necessary to detoxify waste products, the volatile sulphur compounds constituting this waste give breath that “rotten egg” smell common to halitosis sufferers.
Volatile sulphur compounds, or VSCs, consist mostly of:
The only time anaerobic bacteria are not exuding these foul odours is when the environment in which they live is sufficiently oxygenated and clean. Since saliva is primarily responsible for keeping the mouth moist, oxygenated and debris-free, the lack of saliva found in a dry mouth in the morning will be the root cause of bad breath.
How Saliva Protects the Mouth
Oral anaerobic bacteria cannot live in oxygenated conditions, nor can they live where there are no proteins to consume.
Saliva is necessary to prevent the mouth from being overwhelmed with anaerobes and the noxious VSCs they produce, as well as providing the mouth with:
Saliva also aids in preventing plaque buildup, a film of bacteria that adheres to teeth and protects anaerobes lying underneath the film from being exposed to oxygen.
Plaque needs to be eliminated each day by brushing, flossing and using an oxygenated, alcohol-free mouthwash or it will harden into a harmful substance called tartar.
Unless tartar is removed by a dentist or dental hygienist it will rapidly lay the foundation for cavities, tooth loss and chronic halitosis.
The Tongue and Back of the Throat
Also accompanying dry mouth in the morning is a dry tongue and throat, attractive places to anaerobic bacteria for the purpose of consuming proteins and reproducing.
The tongue has thousands of fissures in which bacteria can hide from oxygen, especially near the back, which explains that fuzzy, white coating composed of bacteria you see covering your tongue in the morning.
In fact, half of the sulphuric gases emitted by oral anaerobes originate from the tongue, where mouth debris like dead cells and post nasal drip mucous can also find refuge in tongue crevices.
The back of the throat contains huge amounts of anaerobic bacteria as well, mainly because it is hard to reach with toothbrushes and consistently provides a stagnant and oxygen-poor environment.
Post nasal drip and thick mucous also offer rich amounts of food for oral bacteria to consume, which means more VSC excretion and worsening mouth odour.
Temporary Remedies for Dry Mouth in the Morning
Oral Hygiene Products that Worsen Dry Mouth in the Morning
What many people do not realise is that the products they use to clean their mouth… mouthwashes, toothpaste, gargles are actually aggravating the dryness of their mouth in the morning.
Research into morning dry mouth causes has discovered that toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulphate, a highly abrasive foaming agent, and mouthwashes containing over 20 percent alcohol are the primary culprits in creating a fertile breeding ground for oral anaerobic bacteria while a person is asleep.
Because alcohol has antibacterial properties, most name brand mouthwashes include large amounts of it in their formulas. However, it is also an extreme desiccant it dries things out and contributes to further inhibition of the saliva gland functioning at night as well as during the day.
Used by manufacturers solely as a foaming agent, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) does not benefit oral health or contribute to fresh breath in any way. In fact, SLS is known to provoke mouth ulcer development and tissue abrasion, which only supplies anaerobes with more protein-rich food to consume and eventually emit as VSCs.
Tips for clean, fresh breath and a healthy, disease-free mouth