How to Get Rid of Cottonmouth

Man experiencing cottonmouth while smoking cannabis

If you’ve ever had this strange feeling creeping all over your mouth and face just after a particularly strong hit of weed, you’re not alone. Don’t worry, it’s nothing life-threatening – though cottonmouth can often be far from pleasant.

How do you get rid of cottonmouth? If nothing has worked for you to deal with this uncomfortable feeling, read on for our comprehensive guide on cottonmouth.

What is Cottonmouth?

What we know as cottonmouth is actually not much more than a state of excessive dryness on the inside of your mouth and parts of your throat. 

This is caused by some of the many active ingredients within cannabis that interact with the glands responsible for producing saliva. Because saliva needs to be produced constantly, cottonmouth is a condition with a very quick onset that can often catch you off-guard.

Saliva is not just there to break down food and extract the nutrients from it while we’re eating. It’s also a kind of lubricant for our whole mouth area. This is why even your lips and parts of your skin might feel dry to the point of discomfort or slight pain when you experience cottonmouth.

Symptoms of Cottonmouth

Cottonmouth is a relatively easy condition to diagnose. There is not such a great variation in how symptoms display from person to person, and most will be able to tell by themselves whether they are experiencing cottonmouth – doubly so if they have had it before.

Below, you will find some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with cottonmouth. 

Mouth Sticky or Dry

The principal telltale sign that you’re having cottonmouth is simple: your mouth suddenly starts feeling dry, and opening and closing your jaw (for example, while talking) provokes an uncomfortable sticky sensation.

Dry and Cracked Lips

Especially in more severe cases, cottonmouth can cause your lips to feel dry and even crack, leading to small fissures, rips, and wounds.

Trouble Chewing or Swallowing

As your mouth and throat will be under-lubricated and dried out, you might experience pain when swallowing. Chewing or talking for long might also become very uncomfortable for you.

Severe Symptoms

Long-lasting, severe cases of cottonmouth are rare, but they do happen. When your mouth remains dry with insufficient saliva production for longer periods of time, you might start feeling rashes or burns develop on the inside of your throat or the roof of your mouth. 

Your voice might also start to get raspy, weak, or even disappear entirely.

What Causes Cottonmouth?

The causes of cottonmouth are complex and can be a combination of multiple factors. Though cottonmouth is mostly associated with weed, there are in fact plenty of potential causes that go far beyond cannabis consumption. Let’s take a look at a few of them!

Smoking

Smoking cigarettes is one of the most well-known causes of dry mouth, but any kind of smoking can contribute to cottonmouth symptoms. This includes using cigars, vapes, as well as any kind of pipe or blunt, whether homemade or not. 

Do note, however, that any use of tobacco or cannabis can contribute to cottonmouth. This is because the chemical structure of both contributes to dryness inside the mouth and throat, so even if you take edibles, chew tobacco, or consume cannabis and/or tobacco in any other form, you still run a (reduced) risk of developing cottonmouth.

Dehydration

You don’t have to take anything special to provoke cottonmouth. Sometimes, it’s about actually lacking something your body might need, chiefly proper hydration. 

Our saliva glands need water in order to function, and if you’re severely hydrated, your mouth can and will easily dry out. Remember to drink at least eight standard cups per day to keep cottonmouth – and other health conditions tied to poor hydration – away!

Cannabis Consumption

As mentioned previously, cannabis remains one of the most frequently discussed and known causes of cottonmouth, though it’s a serious misconception to assume that it’s the only or most common one by any stretch.

Still, due to the unique chemical ingredients found in the cannabis plant, consuming it is incredibly drying, and you should watch your hydration levels in order to help prevent possible outbreaks.

Risks of Cottonmouth

You might be wondering whether it is worth it at all to try and protect yourself from cottonmouth. After all, we are just talking about some dry skin and mild discomfort, no? Unfortunately, cottonmouth can be much worse than that.

Over long periods of time, frequent outbreaks of cottonmouth can take a toll on our health in many ways. Below are just some – and each one of them is a good reason to do your best to maintain your oral health!

Oral and Mouth Sores

With excessive, long-term dryness come micro-fractures and tears in the skin. These can develop into small wounds, which beg to be infected, especially in our mouth area with some of the highest daily contact with bacteria and other microbes.

This means that recurring, severe cottonmouth can develop sores in and around the mouth.

Plaque

Our saliva fulfills many functions that we take for granted. It breaks down our food for us, extracting nutrients through the use of enzymes. It also helps keep everything throughout the mouth and throat lubricated and pain-free.

But further than that, saliva is also a strong antiseptic that helps prevent oral infections.

This means that a lack of adequate saliva production may make it easier for plaque to form around the teeth. If not tended to quickly, plaque can be very difficult to remove and might even endanger the integrity of your teeth.

Rotting or Tooth Decay

Plaque is not your only worry when it comes to having a lack of saliva protection in your oral region. Over time, infected teeth left untreated can start to rot and decay – the telltale sign that this is starting to happen is a sudden case of bad breath that doesn’t want to go away.

If you suspect you might be suffering from tooth decay due to cottonmouth, see your dentist immediately. When damage to your dental integrity has gotten to this point, there is little you can do on your own to prevent things from getting worse.

Gum Disease

Your teeth are +n’t the only vulnerable part of your mouth – the gums are equally prone to developing infections when not protected by a healthy film of saliva.

Gum disease can lead to teeth loss and is associated with numerous serious health issues when untreated. Talk to your dentist immediately if you notice any signs – such as swollen, unusually soft, or sensitive gums. Infected gums might also change color, start smelling, or recede, showing more teeth than usual.

Bad Breath

As mentioned before, one of the key signs of a bacterial infection due to severe cottonmouth is bad breath. 

While a bad breath can come and go, if your symptoms are unusually stubborn and will not go away with any kind of home remedies, chances are you have an infection somewhere in your mouth. It is rare that this will stop at bad breath alone, so it is prudent to take this symptom seriously and talk to your dentist about it.

Thrush

You might think of thrush as a mostly harmless kid’s disease, but it can affect adults just the same. Thrush is caused by a fungal infection that attacks the mouth. 

The lack of saliva protection from cottonmouth is a leading cause in cases of serious thrush and makes the condition harder to treat as well. Thrush is easy to spot – it often grows all over the inside of your mouth including the tongue, looking like white flakes or spots of cheese-like film.

Cracked Lips and Mouth

As your mouth dries out from the lack of saliva, so will your lips. Eventually, things might get so bad that you will develop cracks in your skin. These can turn into small open wounds that can further complicate infections in the oral area – another reason to get your cottonmouth under control sooner rather than later!

How to Get Rid of Cottonmouth

So how do you go about treating cottonmouth, exactly? Many will surely be lucky enough with a “sit and wait” approach. But just to ensure that your dry mouth doesn’t develop into something more serious, here are a few things you can try to keep it under control.

Drink More Water

This might be an obvious one, but you would be surprised how many people neglect proper hydration even when their bodies are signaling them through something like cottonmouth that that is what they most urgently need!

It’s important to maintain an adequate level of hydration no matter what. For adults, this should be around half a gallon of water per day or more. Women generally need about two cups less, though this varies depending on age and fitness level.

However, in the case of cottonmouth, it can’t hurt to go slightly above your usual daily intake.

If the dryness is making regular drinking uncomfortable, try using a straw and taking small, slow sips.

Breathing Through the Nose

When your mouth is dry and scratchy, you don’t want to make it worse. Breathing through your mouth will only accelerate and worsen cottonmouth’s symptoms, so make sure to breathe through your nose instead.

Avoid Alcohol

As alcohol worsens dehydration and can actually cause cottonmouth itself (as established previously), you would be wise to abstain from drinking if you find yourself having a case of cottonmouth.

Use Saline Solution to Hydrate Your Nose

Cottonmouth doesn’t just affect your mouth. Because our nasal and oral cavities are linked, your nose will eventually experience dryness as well. This can be really uncomfortable, but more than that, it can also interfere with the functioning of your sinus glands, leading to problems with smell, taste, and further health issues down the line.

Use a water-based saline solution to hydrate the nose. This will also provide some relief for your throat.

Sour Candy

It might sound strange, but sour candy is actually a really effective remedy against cottonmouth for most people. This is because our saliva glands respond differently to different tastes – the sour taste being the one that corresponds to a high spike in humidity and saliva production.

It might not be enough to reverse your cottonmouth on its own, but it could for sure help to treat the symptoms in the short term. And who doesn’t love some sour candy?

Suck on Ice Cubes

The sheer sensation of something in your mouth can often be just enough to provoke an increase in the production of saliva. When that something is very cold, it’s even more effective – so it’s no surprise that many suffering from cottonmouth are often recommended to suck on ice cubes. Trust us, it works!

Reduce Cannabis Smoke

Smoking cannabis can be just as conducive to cottonmouth as using cigarettes. If you find yourself having a bad case of dry mouth after hitting some weed, you know what caused it, and it’s time for a break. 

Try Tinctures or Gummies

While any degree of cannabis consumption can cause dryness of the mouth in some people, using alternative means besides traditional smoking can greatly lower the risk.

How about some edibles for a change? No, contrary to popular belief, they don’t have to be underwhelmingly weak in potency or uncomfortable in terms of taste. 

Our Delta-8 THC Gummies are proof of that, and they come jam-packed with some of the most potent Delta-8 you’ll find anywhere! If you’d rather have the heavy-hitting kick that only good Delta-9 can provide, then go ahead – our Delta-9 Gummies are no slouches either, and they come in the same hand-picked sweet candy flavors!

Seldom considered but beloved by many users worldwide, tinctures are another excellent way to enjoy potent cannabis without any of the risks and side effects associated with smoking. Consider our Live Resin Tincture for a relaxing, full-spectrum experience. Or alternatively, have a try of our Delta-8 Live Resin if you want to kick things up a notch.

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