If you’re currently using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) nasal pillow or a nasal mask and your mouth or throat is drying out, then you’re most likely breathing from your mouth. It is a normal occurrence for people who use CPAP therapy since they’re not used to air blowing into the throat to hold it open.
Dry mouth is sometimes worsened for people who wear a nasal CPAP mask, especially if the jaw drops open during sleep. This contributes to a lesser efficient therapy because of leakage while causing dry mouth. Thankfully, there are a couple of simple solutions to help prevent this problem.
Use a Chinstrap. The simplest solution is to wear a snoring chin strap that quickly and comfortably holds the jaw in place. For most people, chin straps completely stop the escaping air, or dramatically reduces it. This means little or no dry mouth as well as reduced snoring.
Install a Humidifier. The second solution is to use a humidifier on the CPAP machine. Take note that newer models already include one like the ResMed AirSense 10. If yours don’t have one pre-installed, then you can either attach one or put a standalone unit near your bed. Humidification is vital when dealing with symptoms of dry mouth because it supplies both warm and room temperature air. This helps the nasal passages to stay hydrated.
Get a Full face mask. This covers the entire nose and mouth area. Using a full-sized mask could seem confining or even claustrophobic, but there isn’t any single solution here since no single mask is right for everyone. The solution here is doing an experimentation to find the right CPAP mask which best meets your need for efficacy and comfort.
Choose the right size. In relation with the above, the size of your CPAP may be what’s causing the issue. Work closely with your doctor or CPAP supplier to ensure that you have a mask that suits your needs and fits you. Everyone has different shaped faces, so the right style and size mask for someone else may not work for you.
Drink plenty of water. This may be obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t follow this simple advice. Dry mouth and throat while using CPAP is worsened by dehydration. The general rule is to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water daily. If you drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, or sweat a lot during the day, then make sure to rehydrate to avoid dry mouth and throat.
Allow yourself time to adjust. When people are diagnosed with sleep apnea and start CPAP therapy, there is normally a period of adjustment. With any change in a person’s routine, understanding what changes need to be made and adapting to those unique changes will provide a baseline for recovery or improvement. In most cases, you will automatically adapt to CPAP.
That’s it! Simply follow the recommendations above to alleviate your dry mouth and throat while using CPAP. With time and patience, this device will positively affect your quality of sleep, and thus your life and health. The treatment will be worth it!