Are you a smoker?
If so, you must be familiar with its unfortunate side effect- cottonmouth or dry mouth. Doctors refer to this condition as xerostomia. (1)
Cottonmouth has the following symptoms:
- A sticky mouth
- Desert dry tongue
- Irritation in throat
- Problems with chewing, swallowing, tasting and speaking
- Bad breath
- Cracked Lips
- Mouth sores
- Interruptions in sleep due to thirst
- Gum inflammations
- Difficulty wearing dentures (2)
The salivary glands in your tongue produce saliva to keep your mouth moist and free from infections.
But some components of cannabis can affect the glands and lower your saliva production. Lack of enough saliva gives you a cottonmouth.
A cotton mouth can lead to gum disease, dental cavities and mouth infection such as thrush. (3)
However, smoking weed isn’t the only cause of cotton mouth. Some other factors are also responsible for it. (4)
- A side effect of medication – studies show there are over 500 medications that directly cause dry Mouth.
- Diseases such as; HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Damaged salivary glands during radiation therapy
- Nerve damage in head or neck
Doctors usually recommend you an oral rinse or salagen to increase saliva production. But we don’t want you to try those chemical induced products. (5)
This article will introduce you to some natural methods, and life hacks to get rid of a bothersome cotton mouth.
Inside you’ll learn:
- Top 17 home remedies and life hacks for cotton mouth
- Tips for oral health and cotton mouth
- Answers to some frequently asked questions
Top 17 home remedies to get rid of cotton mouth
You can get rid of cotton mouth by reaching out for some natural ingredients. These are readily available in your home. There are also some lifestyle hacks that you can tap into for a good oral health.
Let’s learn about these natural remedies.
1. Drink more water
Hands down water are the best form of drink for you anytime of the day. Keep your body hydrated by consuming sufficient water throughout the day. Proper hydration keeps the salivary glands busy in producing saliva. Thus, you never feel a desert inside your mouth.
The health experts recommend consuming 2 liters of water daily for a healthy body. (6)
The process of intaking water or other fluids is also essential.
- It’s a natural tendency to gulp like a horse when you are all thirsty because of a cotton mouth. But do your tongue a favor and drink slowly. This process will allow the salivary glands to absorb the water and keep your tongue moist.
- Sipping water with a straw is an efficient way to trigger the salivary glands.
- If you don’t have a tonsil problem, suck on a small piece of ice.
Note: It’s a common misconception that caffeinated drinks contribute to dehydration. But a recent study shows that there’s no significant effect of caffeine in dehydration of your body. (7)
2.Raise your fluid intake
Water isn’t the only source of hydration. You can tap into many other sources of fluid to tackle your cotton mouth. (8)
You should eat juicy and water-based fruits such as; watermelons, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, cucumber, etc. These can provide you with enough fluids.
Consume fruit juice, vegetable juice, coconut water, herbal tea, soups, stews, etc. to fill in yourself with natural fluids.
3.Chew Sugar-free Candies and gums
Munching on sugar-free candies and gums is an effective way to get rid of cotton mouth. Research shows that citrus or sour candies can heal damaged salivary glands. (9)
Next time you have a dry mouth just pop in a lemon, orange or mint-flavored candy. It can stimulate the salivary glands and flood in a flow of saliva immediately. It has beneficial effects on hard and soft oral tissues as well. (10)
Note: Don’t even go near sugary candies and gums. These can decay your teeth in the long run. You should go for xylitol based gums. This natural sweetener keeps a neutral acidity level in your mouth and prevents tooth decay. (11)
4. Limit Alcohol
It is because alcohol dehydrates your body more than anything else. The best way to tackle this is to set a limit to your drinking habits. It’ll certainly help you get over a cottonmouth. (12)
5.Use natural mouthwash
Using mouthwash is a favorite way to keep oral hygiene.it can give you germ-free teeth and a refreshing breath.
However, using chlorhexidine mouthwash may leave you with a dry mouth and alteration of taste buds on your tongue.
Shun these chemical products to avoid a dry or cotton mouth. Here’s a simple homemade mouthwash just for you.
- Mix 1 cup of warm water, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to make a solution
- Take it in small sips and rinse your mouth twice a day
6. Change Your Toothbrush
Getting rid of cotton mouth can be as simple as changing your toothbrush. So, Switch to a new soft bristled-toothbrush. It’ll help you clean every nook and corner of your teeth efficiently.
The bad breath causing bacteria make their home in the narrow crevices of teeth. Eventually, these bacteria can cause you cotton mouth.
7. Change breathing pattern
A wrong breathing pattern is also responsible for dry mouth. Often waking up in the morning you may find a dry and sticky mouth with bad breath. It is because you breathed through your mouth and not the nose.
Sometimes, your nose may be all plugged up with congestion, and you switch to breathing through the mouth. This dries up the moisture of your tongue and gives you a cotton mouth.
Pay attention to your breathing. Perhaps you can do pranayama yoga in the morning and consciously breathe through the nose. (13)
Most importantly you have to take care of your nasal congestion. Use saline drops, humidifier or a hot steam to clear up your nasal passage and airways.
8. Use Humidifier
Using humidifier is an ideal therapy for cotton mouth relief. It controls the humidity level of the room and can add moisture to the air.
Add a good humidifier in your life to resolve all these problems with dryness.
You can pour in your favorite essential oil into the humidifier. It’ll give you a good night’s sleep in a relaxing humid atmosphere.
Apart from using a natural mouthwash discussed above, you can try this gargle method. It’s a simple process that ensures oral hygiene and stimulates the salivary glands to secrete more saliva into your mouth. (14)
- Add ½ cup salt to 1 cup warm water and mix them well
- Gargle with the solution three times a day
10.Suck on a lemon
Detecting the type and intensity of taste is an important way of how your tongue produces saliva.
The study shows that citrus or sour taste can stimulate a high flow of saliva instantly. Sucking on a piece of lemon is a natural way to moisten your mouth.
It gives a refreshing feel and breath apart from beating cotton mouth. (15)
11. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper or guinea spice is the red-hot chili pepper that you use to spice up your dishes.
But I bet you did not know it has an extraordinary contribution to your digestive process.
Cayenne pepper can trigger the salivary glands to produce saliva which in turn helps digest your food. (16)
Below you have a simple cayenne pepper remedy for cotton mouth.
- With your wet finger take a pinch of cayenne pepper powder
- Rub the pepper around the muscles of your tongue. You’ll have a burning sensation, but saliva will gush in instantly.
- Alternatively, you can spice up your dishes with cayenne pepper
12. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are dried seeds from therapeutically potent- fennel herb. It is a favorite ingredient in Indian culinary because it has a warm and aromatic flavor.
Fennel seeds contain flavonoids along with many other medicinal properties. Flavonoids are useful stimulators of your salivary glands to produce saliva. (17)
You can munch fennel seeds to treat your cotton mouth. It is a good mouth freshener as well as a moisturizer.
13. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient method of detoxification of the body and treating oral diseases. It can significantly help you in getting rid of cotton mouth.
- Take 1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10 to 20 minutes
- Spit out the oil and wash your mouth with salt water
- Later you can brush your teeth as well
Note: Do oil pulling the first thing after waking up in the morning. Make sure you don’t swallow the oil.
People regard cardamom as the queen of spices because of its sweet aroma and flavor.
Chewing cardamom is an effective ayurvedic practice to treat cotton mouth. It relieves lousy breath caused by a dry mouth and provides a rush of moist instantly. (18)
You need to follow the process below.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder to 1 glass of hot water.
- Stir well and leave it for 10 minutes.
- Drink the solution.
- Repeat the process twice daily.
Note: You can chew on a cardamom seed after every meal or when you experience a dry mouth.
Ginger isn’t just a great ingredient to flavor your non-veg dishes. It has medicinal properties in it that can boost your salivary glands and secrete more saliva.
- Chew on a ginger piece for a long-lasting moisture inside your mouth
- Alternatively, add ginger and honey to your tea. It will take your tea drinking experience to another level plus treat your dry mouth.
16. Slippery Elm
The inner bark of the slippery elm tree has medicinal values. It can effectively treat a sore throat, dry mouth, and other oral ailments. The chemical compounds and mucilage of slippery elm can secrete mucous and saliva in your body.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of slippery elm to 1 cup of hot water and stir well.
- Cover the solution and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain it and add 1 tablespoon honey.
- Drink the solution twice a day.
17. Aloe Vera
You can’t escape Aloe Vera when thinking of a natural remedy for any illness (19). The clear and odorless Aloe Vera gel is an ideal remedy for cotton mouth. It also protects the soft tissues inside your mouth and boosts your taste buds.
Follow the Aloe Vera juice recipe given below.
- Mix ¼ cup of gel and 1 cup of lukewarm water properly to make a juice
- You can drink the juice or wash your mouth with it thrice a day.
Tips for oral health and cotton mouth
- Use fluoride-based toothpaste
- After each meal wash your mouth with warm water
- A regular brushing and flossing is as mandatory for avoiding tooth decay as cotton mouth
- Quit smoking and tobacco use
- Munch on water-based vegetables such as celery sticks, cabbage, carrots, etc. for moistening your mouth.
Frequently asked questions
- How widespread is cotton mouth?
Xerostomia is becoming an alarming health concern for millions of people around the world. You may be one of them.
A study conducted by The American Dental Association states that the prevalence of dry mouth among adult is 20% and among old people over 65 years is 40%. (20)
The primary cause of dry mouth among youth is an addiction to drugs. In the older population, it’s the side effect of certain medications.
- Why is cotton mouth severe during the night?
Your salivary glands by default produce less saliva when you sleep. So, the situation worsens for you if cotton mouth further reduces your saliva.
Thus, you experience a dry-desert mouth in all its severity.
- Why cotton mouth causes bad breath?
There’s a connection between dry mouth and bad breath. Your saliva plays a vital role in cleaning the bacteria that form on your tongue, gums, and teeth.
Cottonmouth is merely a lack of saliva in the mouth. Thus, a lower level of saliva gives way to decomposition of bacteria and bad breath.
Cottonmouth is an uncomfortable experience. Why should you suffer anymore when you can get rid of it quickly with the natural remedies discussed above?
If you have already tried some of these, share with us your experience. We would love to hear your healing stories.