What Is Cottonmouth & Why Do You Get It From Smoking?
You feel your mouth beginning to get sticky and dry; it’s getting tougher and tougher to swallow and speak, there’s only one thing that can be…cottonmouth. In today’s blog, we’re going to get to the bottom of what cottonmouth is and why things like medications, smoking tobacco, cannabis, stress, and food can cause that annoying and uncomfortable cotton-ball-feeling and make simple tasks like eating and swallowing increasingly difficult.
What Is Cottonmouth?
Cottonmouth, otherwise known as dry mouth or xerostomia is defined by the American Dental Association (ADA) as an issue when our mouth and salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva or spit to keep our mouth properly hydrated. This could be due to a habit, behavior, side effect of a medication, or in some cases indicative of an underlying issue.
When our salivary glands begin to slow down saliva production, this is what gives you the dry, parched feeling that can make life very uncomfortable and awkward.
Proper saliva production plays a crucial role in quality oral health, because not only does spit or saliva keep our mouth hydrated, but it also is a critical factor in digesting our food, regulating the pH level in our mouth, and minimizing the harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
The Typical Symptoms of Cottonmouth Are:
- A dry feeling in the throat
- Stringy saliva
- Sticky or parched sensation in your mouth
- A constant & unquenchable thirst
- Difficulty speaking & swallowing
- A raspy/hoarse voice
- A sore throat
- Problems tasting food & beverages
- Trouble wearing dentures
- A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth & on the tongue
Why Do I Get Cottonmouth?
There can be many reasons why we’d get cottonmouth, and it can range from daily life activities like smoking tobacco, using marijuana or cannabis, eating certain foods, over-the-counter or prescription medications, stress, or a natural part of aging.
Clinical or Medical Causes of Cottonmouth:
- Common over-the-counter medications
- Common pharmaceutical prescriptions
- A fever
Daily Activities That Cause Cottonmouth:
- Eating spicy or salty foods
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Drinking too much caffeine
- Smoking cigarettes or cigars
- Chewing tobacco
- Smoking medical marijuana or cannabis
- Using narcotics
Why Saliva Production Is Important
Proper saliva production is essential in our lives because it serves many roles in maintaining good oral health, not to mention makes daily aspects like talking and swallowing more manageable.
Healthy Saliva Production Will:
- Help us digest our food
- Allow our mouth to stay hydrated
- Clean your mouth
- Maintain a healthy pH level, so teeth and gums remain healthy
- Help avoid oral infections from harmful bacteria
How does smoking cause dry mouth?
There’s no doubt about it, for us to have healthy teeth we need healthy gums.
Smoking, whether it’s tobacco or cannabis products is one of the most harmful habits for our oral health. Smoking is known to restrict your blood flow to other parts of your body, including your gums and mouth. When we have our healthy blood flow reduced, this can lead to gum disease and additional oral health issues.
In addition to lack of blood flow, the nicotine in tobacco products is also known to minimize saliva flow and lead to issues like cottonmouth from smoking which can snowball into more unpleasant issues like tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
Gum disease from smoking can technically be broken down into two separate types due to the area it affects:
- Gum disease that inflames your gums
- Gum disease that causes loss of bone and tissue that surround and support your teeth.
With little to no support, our teeth will loosen, cause pain, and depending on how extreme the gum disease gets, may have to be extracted.
That’s why in order to minimize tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and dry mouth or cottonmouth, you must try to minimize smoking as much as possible, if not quit.
If you smoke:
- You’re around 3X more likely to have gum disease.
- You’re also more likely to have tooth decay.
Cottonmouth From Smoking Cannabis
If you’re among the population that utilizes medical or recreational cannabis for many of its favorable medicinal properties, you may find yourself very familiar with the feelings of cottonmouth.
Cottonmouth from smoking cannabis or marijuana is due to one of marijuana’s essential chemicals called cannabinoids or CBDs.
No matter if you smoke cannabis or ingest it in an edible form, you’ll more than likely experience some symptoms of cottonmouth. This sticky and uncomfortable sensation is because of the submandibular glands in our mouth.
They’re natural CBD processors, and when we have cannabis in our system, our cannabinoid receptors tell the submandibular glands in our body to ignore the messages from our nervous system telling them to produce saliva.
The decrease in saliva production results in an uncomfortable feeling called cottonmouth.
There are numerous medicinal, over the counter, and home remedies for your body to increase its saliva production and decrease the symptoms of cottonmouth from smoking.
DIY Ways To Treat Cottonmouth:
- Drink more water
- Try using xylitol products
- Minimize or eliminate drinks/foods with sugar
- Suck on ice cubes
- Minimize or eliminate drinks with caffeine
- Increase the moisture in your house by buying a humidifier
- Avoid spicy or salty foods
- Quit smoking or chewing tobacco
- Minimize alcohol intake
- Use ADA approved mints or gum with no sugar
Cottonmouth Still Got You Down? Try SmartMouth & Turn That Frown Upside Down
If you’ve tried all of these solutions to combat cottonmouth from smoking and you’re still feeling the dry, uncomfortable sensation, we’d suggest you try some proven solutions to soothe and relieve cottonmouth symptoms.
SmartMouth is the only dry mouth mouthwash proven to help relieve minor cottonmouth symptoms and prevent and eliminate bad breath for 12 hours with every rinse.