Do Night Guards Cause Dry Mouth?

Do Night Guards Cause Dry Mouth?

Martyna Bobek LSW, CTP Martyna Bobek LSW, CTP
5 minute read

Are you waking up in the morning with a dry, crusty feeling mouth these days? Maybe you’re even waking up a few times a night feeling like you need to drink water to ease that dryness. I’ve been there, and it’s not fun.

If you wear a night guard, especially if you are fairly new to wearing one, you may be wondering if this is the root of your problem. Quite honestly, it may be: dry mouth is a common side effect of night guards.

However, there are other causes you will want to consider as well. And, no matter what is causing the discomfort, I promise, there are ways to address it.

In this article, we'll discuss how mouth guards can affect your saliva, whether or not your dry mouth might have other causes, and what to do to help rid yourself of dry mouth.

Dry mouth is a common side effect of night guards.

If you wear a night guard to protect your teeth from grinding, it is possible that you may experience dry mouth as a side effect. This is because, as a reaction to the night guard’s presence, the saliva flow in your mouth may change.

In fact, another common side effect of wearing a night guard is excessive salivation. No kidding! The presence of the night guard can trigger two seemingly opposite side effects.

The most common way that a night guard leads to dry mouth is by affecting the position you keep your mouth in while you sleep.

Do you breathe through your mouth while you sleep?

Anyone who breathes fully or partially through their mouth while sleeping will experience some amount of dry mouth. This is true whether or not you are wearing a night guard.

While breathing through your nose heats and humidifies the air going into your lungs, your mouth does not have the same effect. Instead, that outside air slowly dries out the moisture in your mouth. Your saliva simply can’t keep up.

So, if your night guard is causing your mouth to fall open while you sleep, you will find that your mouth dries out during the night. You can try addressing the problem by purchasing a slimmer night guard made of thinner and softer material.

However, if you like the way your current night guard is working, there’s another great option:

You can reduce the risk of dry mouth by wearing a chin strap.

Chin straps were first designed to address snoring issues. Sleeping with your mouth open can affect the position of the soft palate and your body’s airway, leading to an increased risk of snoring. And snoring isn’t only an auditory annoyance, it can also decrease your body’s oxygen intake during sleep, damaging your long-term health.

However, even if you do not snore, sleeping with your mouth open can cause irritation by way of dry mouth.

This is where the chin strap comes in handy for night guard users. Chin straps are designed of soft fabrics that will not interrupt your comfort during sleep. They wrap from your chin around the upper back of your head, holding your chin in place and preventing it from falling open while you sleep.

Whether you have always slept with your mouth open or whether it is a new habit since getting a night guard, a chin strap will help your jaw stay in place and keep your mouth from drying out overnight. And, if you are a snorer, you will probably find that a chin strap helps reduce that issue as well.

Dry mouth could indicate an underlying condition that has nothing to do with your night guard.

If you have tried a chin strap and seen no helpful effects, or if you are quite sure that your dry mouth is not caused by sleeping with your mouth open, you will have to investigate other possible causes.

You may be suffering from a number of different conditions. Some of the causes of dry mouth include Sjogren's syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease that causes dryness in the eyes, nose, and mouth. So, look into this if you are experiencing more widely distributed dryness.

Diabetes can cause dry mouth. So can certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants. Smoking and poor dental hygiene are possible culprits. Even anxiety disorders can affect the amount of saliva your body produces.

The takeaway:

Investigate whether your dry mouth is arising from breathing through your mouth during the night or from other underlying issues. If sleeping with your mouth open is the issue, use a chin strap to address the problem or consider how well your night guard currently fits and try a slimmer design.

It’s important to use a properly fitted custom night guard. These have the best chance of feeling comfortable and unobtrusive in your mouth.

You can order your custom night guards through TeethNightGuard and choose from a selection of material densities. Plus, at TeethNightGuard, you’ll be paying less than if you choose to order through a dentist.

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