Many people who use CPAP therapy to treat their sleep apnea, struggle with mouth breathing, which can cause persistent dry-mouth and dry airways. There are many reasons why some CPAP users breathe through their mouths, but the good news is that there are some easy and effective ways to avoid these types of CPAP problems. Here are our top-4 tips for breathing during CPAP therapy and how to prevent problems with dry-mouth.
1. Take Steps to Clear Your Nasal Airways
Many people breath primarily through their mouths while sleeping because their nasal airways are partially or fully blocked, restricting airflow. The first step you can take toward avoiding mouth breathing during CPAP therapy is to open up your nose and sinuses as much as possible.
Allergies can cause stuffiness and make proper breathing difficult. If you have allergies, consider talking to your doctor about medications, such as nasal steroids, to help reduce inflammation of your nasal passages and open up airflow.
You could also try rinsing out your nasal airways using a neti pot and saline solution. This will push warm, salty water into your nose and sinuses for gentle cleaning that can help unblock airways for easier breathing through your nose.
Finally, if you have a deviated septum or nasal turbinates, you may need a surgical procedure to correct these issues and open up your nasal airways better. Consult with your doctor and ensure this is the best course of action.
2. Try a Chinstrap
One simple and inexpensive way many people reduce mouth-breathing during CPAP therapy is to use a chinstrap. These soft, elastic bands help hold your jaw and mouth closed during the night to make it easier to breathe through your nose consistently. Chinstraps work great for many CPAP users, but others find them uncomfortable and say they can cause snoring or lip-buzzing as air tries to escape the mouth. It's best to try one yourself to see how it works for you.
3. Add a Humidifier
For many CPAP users, a bit of mouth-breathing is simply unavoidable each night. In these cases, it can be great to add a heated humidifier to your CPAP machine. Humidifiers add just the right amount of moisture to the air you're breathing during the night to help keep airways hydrated. While this isn't a panacea, it can make a significant difference in your ability to breathe properly.
4. Get Your Air Pressure Right
Chronic mouth-breathing during CPAP therapy could also be a sign that your air pressure is a bit too high, as air could be forcing its way out of your mouth during sleep. Consult with your sleep doctor to see if this could be the case, and see if they recommend a slight air pressure adjustment.
No matter what you do to help solve your mouth breathing and dry-mouth problems, remember that a soft, breathable RemZzzs® Mask Liner will help your CPAP mask fit as snugly and comfortably as possible. Request a free sample of our medical-grade CPAP mask liners now!