One of the first sleep apnea mask problems that I want to talk about is dry mouth. If you wake with a dry mouth, chances are that you sleep with your mouth open – don’t worry, a lot of CPAP users do this. CPAP therapy can cause slight dry mouth on it’s own, but if you sleep with your mouth wide open, the problem can be seriously exacerbated.
There are only two primary solutions to dry mouth 1) use some method to keep your mouth closed at night and/or 2) use a full face mask with maximum humidity and other solutions to keep your mouth and tongue from drying out.
Keeping Your Mouth Closed During The Night
One solution that has worked for many CPAP users is to use surgical tape. Try 3″ 3M Micropore tape with one piece directly across your mouth and two more pieces from the jaw to the cheeks on either side of the mouth. The pieces on either side of your mouth help keep the tape over your mouth in place during the night.
You can also try using a chin strap – they work best with nasal masks, but can be made to work with full face masks as well, but if your mouth is not open at night, you do not need a mask that covers it.
We recommend the Philips Respironics Premium Universal Chin Strap
In some cases, dry mouth can be directly, or indirectly related to your pressure setting being too high, but hopefully your settings have already been optimized.
Humidification and Other Methods for Keeping Your Mouth and Tongue from Drying Out
Make sure you use as heated humidifier with your CPAP. Most sleep doctors believe that everyone can benefit from heated humidification, especially those with mid to high range pressures, so hopefully you already have a heated humidifier.
You can also use Biotene products for dry mouth which include mouth sprays and gels, the gel seems to be most effective. Some patients have reported success using Xylimelts tablets in their mouth prior to sleeping with their CPAP. Please check with your doctor first about using Xylimelts.
Sleep Apnea Mask Problems: #2 Mask Leak
Leaking or poor mask seal is the most common issue that CPAP users have to deal with. Not only is mask leak annoying, but a heavy leak may exceed your CPAPs ability to maintain the prescribed pressure and have a negative impact on your therapy.
The silicone of a CPAP seal is very soft and it can crease if you over tighten it or when the mask moves around. The first tendency for most people when presented with a leak is to tighten the straps more – this not only caused pain and discomfort, but also makes the problem worse. CPAP masks are designed to gently sit on your face without needing to be applied tightly.
Masks can be very durable, but they aren’t designed to last forever. Periodically check your cushions for tears, or changes in texture and flexibility which can cause increased leaking. Replace them when necessary. Similarly, if your mask frame is worn or damaged, and/or your headgear is stretched out of shape, you will need to replace them.
MaskMate helps with a lot of sleep apnea mask problems. You simply apply MaskMate to your mask to STOP air leaks, whether its facial hair, smile lines, skin wrinkles, or any other issue that is making your mask leak, this will stop the leaks. It also helps to alleviate many of the other problems associated with your sleep apnea mask.
MaskMate Provides a Long List of Benefits:
- Significantly Reduces Air Leaks
- Stops Annoying CPAP Mask Noises
- Improves Compliance and Increases CPAP Mask Comfort
- Helps to Restore Smooth and Healthy Skin
- Allows Users To Loosen Their Mask Headgear Without Compromising the Mask Seal
- Comfortably Holds Mask in Place
- Works Well With a Beard or Mustache
- FDA Approved
- Won’t Degrade Mask
Sleep Apnea Mask Problems: #3 Marks and Redness from the Mask
Getting a rash or redness from your mask? It could be you are wearing it too tight, not cleaning it well enough or it may be wearing out.
Even the very best mask out there may cause skin irritation when it’s getting close to the end of its life span. When you are wearing your mask every night, it will eventually wear out. Plus, when the cushion part of the mask degrades, its flexibility decreases, which increases the risk of leaks.
It’s a good idea to replace your mask every six months. You also need to replace the headgear, tubing and humidifier chamber, as well as the air intake filter, which is the small sponge in the back of your CPAP machine. When this sponge becomes clogged with dust, it reduces the uptake of air into the CPAP machine, which in turn can cause you to feel a reduced airflow and may cause the unit to overheat.
This, of course, will also negatively impact the benefits of your CPAP therapy. Most health insurances will allow for CPAP equipment to be replaced every six months, so do it. Be sure to ask your therapy provider if you are unsure.