It's an all too common human experience to roll out from under the covers and realise that your throat is dry. This annoying symptom can make it difficult to speak, swallow, or even eat. We're here to help you understand the most likely causes of a dry throat and what to do about it.
How to Get Rid of a Dry Throat
Did you know that you have hundreds of salivary glands that supply saliva to your mouth and throat? These glands rely on a steady supply of water to do their job. Dehydration can cause a lack of saliva production, along with a dry throat and dry mouth.
Saliva helps lubricate your throat and mouth, so it’s important to ensure your body can make enough of it to prevent a dry feeling. If dehydration is your problem, effective home remedies for dry throat might be as simple as finding ways to drink more water. To stimulate saliva production, considering chewing sugar-free gum or consuming dairy products.
Helpful tip: According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), there's no single right amount of water to drink. A good guide to follow is that you should consume between 6 and 8 mugs of fluids each day. Women typically need around 1.6 litres whereas men generally require around 2 litres. If you live in a hot climate or perform strenuous activity, the amount could be higher.
Hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) occurs when your body is sensitive to particles entering through your airway, increasing mucus production and inflaming your nasal passages. This response can cause you to experience a range of symptoms, including a dry throat.
Allergens and irritants like pollen, dander, dust, and smoke are likely to trigger hay fever.
If you’re experiencing hay fever, your symptoms may include:
- Dry throat or dry mouth
- Congested or runny nose
It can be frustrating to deal with hay fever, but there are various steps you can take to prevent exposure and manage your symptoms.
Treatment and prevention tips include:
- Medication: Both prescription and over-the-counter options are available to reduce some of the most annoying symptoms, like runny nose and dry throat. These options include antihistamines, decongestants, and other widely available options.
- Air Conditioning: Avoid fans that can blow particles around in favour of air conditioning that can help remove them from the air.
- Protect your eyes: Wear sunglasses to block particles from entering your eyes, and try not to rub your eyes to avoid aggravating them.
- Keep a clean environment: Regular removal of potential irritants or allergens will help prevent episodes or reduce your symptoms.
The Common Cold
The common cold is, as the name suggests, incredibly common. According to Evidently Cochrane, this condition leads to considerable numbers of people visiting healthcare professionals and calling out from work. It’s caused by over 200 different viruses, though they all produce similar symptoms.
Symptoms of the common cold may include:
- Mucus in your throat
- Itchy throat
- Congested or runny nose
- Soreness or tiredness
While there’s no cure for the common cold, there are many steps you can take to reduce its symptoms:
- Drink plenty of fluids and get a lot of rest.
- Use over-the-counter medication as instructed on the packaging, like decongestants, cough medicine, antihistamines, or pain medication.
- Gargle with a mixture of salt dissolved in warm water.
Did you know: Despite what you may have heard from friends and relatives, the common cold is not actually caused by exposure to cold or wetness, although they may impact your body's immune response.
Waking Up With Dry Throat
If you go to bed feeling fine but wake up with a bothersome dry throat, you might be breathing through your mouth while you sleep. This can be caused by a congested nose or throat, back sleeping, or another medical condition.
You may also find yourself with a dry throat in the morning if you experience sleep apnea, a condition that disrupts your breathing and sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause other health problems, so it’s a great idea to speak with your medical professional.
To prevent waking up to an annoying dry throat, it’s a good idea to drink a glass of water before bed to help prevent dehydration, avoid sleeping on your back if possible, and take steps to unclog your nose, so you don’t breathe out of your mouth.
There are many potential causes for your dry throat, so it’s your best bet to determine and treat its underlying cause. While it can be hard to do this on your own, luckily there are medical professionals at your disposal to assist with expert diagnosis and treatment. You’re now informed of the top causes of your dry throat and ready to manage your symptoms.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.