Smoking weed does provide a nice HIGH, but weed smokers instantly get a dry mouth after taking the joints. Their voice also gets hoarse while saliva production gets no to a minimum. You might also experience different dry mouth symptoms if you love smoking marijuana.American states have legalized the medical use of cannabis for cancer treatment, patients feel a common side effect known as a cotton mouth after utilizing it.
So, this article will help you find the answer to what is cotton mouth and its remedies.
What is Cotton Mouth?
Cottonmouth is an informal or slang term for dry mouth. In scientific terms, the cottonmouth is called xerostomia. It’s a side effect of consuming cannabis regardless of the intake method.
The salivary glands stop producing saliva in your mouth, which creates dryness. Not treating cotton mouth leads to other symptoms like sore throat and bad breath.
The dryness of your mouth begins with the tongue and travels to your throat. If you overlook the dry mouth symptoms, the dryness will affect your lips and voice and might lead to other oral diseases.
Purpose of Saliva
There are over 1,000 salivary glands in the human mouth divided into three pairs:
The major purpose of saliva is to help us chew food and let it slide through the esophagus (the muscular tube from the mouth to the stomach for food and drink) easily. The submandibular glands are the most important, responsible for almost 70% of saliva production.
Why Does Marijuana Cause Dry Mouth?
To understand the relationship between dry mouth and marijuana, you must know the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. It’s a network of natural cannabinoids, like:
The endocannabinoid system regulates multiple functions in our bodies. One of the systems affected when you consume cannabis is the parasympathetic nervous system which runs critical functions when our bodies are relaxed.
Since cannabis includes cannabinoids, they bind to the cannabinoid receptors of the submandibular glands. These salivary glands provide saliva under the jaw bones. When the cannabinoids and respective receptors come into contact, no message is sent to the nervous system.
As a result, the salivary glands stop producing saliva, which causes dry mouth.
Dry Mouth Symptoms
A dry mouth is an uneasy condition that people experience when feeling nervous or upset. Some people also experience dry mouth due to mouth breathing, especially while sleeping.
But you might feel severe dry mouth symptoms due to marijuana, including the following.
First, you will smell bad breath from your mouth. That’s the earliest sign of dry mouth which people consider an issue of oral hygiene. Oral hygiene is undoubtedly equally important, but you can’t treat a dry mouth by not eating smelly foods like garlic and onion.
Bad breath due to marijuana will stay until you go through proper treatment. Your dentist might recommend fluoride toothpaste with other over-the-counter medications.
You can also chew sugar-free gum as it can absorb most of the bad odor from your dry mouth and keep your oral hygiene fresh.
Improper or no treatment of bad breath leads to tooth decay. But how does marijuana lead to tooth decay?
Marijuana, or cannabis, consists of an active compound known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is responsible for the euphoric effect. After consuming marijuana, smokers have an increased appetite, especially for sugary foods.
You already know that sugary drinks and foods are the main causes of tooth decay. When the mouth’s bacteria break the sugary compounds, an acid is produced, directly attacking the teeth’s upper layer and penetrating it.
Similarly, a doctor or dentist will prohibit you from acidic foods to prevent tooth decay as a dry mouth treatment.
Difficulty in Chewing
People also struggle chewing food due to dry mouth and lack of saliva. When no saliva is in your mouth, you will feel dry while chewing, which might kill your appetite.
Difficulty in Swallowing
When the food you chew is not wet, it’s hard to swallow. Remember, the main purpose of saliva production in our mouth is to help us chew and swallow food. When there is not enough saliva, swallowing food will be difficult.
Some people also find swallowing dry food painful due to severe dry mouth. They also might get mouth sores if left untreated for a long time.
The dryness in the mouth makes your throat dry and will also affect your lips (known as cracked lips). Since your mouth is not producing enough saliva, your throat will dry, leading to other oral diseases.
That’s the most common disease due to dry mouth and throat. Soar throat will gradually grow, and swallowing anything will become painful while treating your dry mouth.
This soar throat differs from the viral infection because it occurs from a dry mouth. You might also produce stringy saliva, another symptom of a dry mouth.
A dry mouth causes your tongue to get wrinkles and grooves in the middle. Although it’s unharmful, you must stay alert for dry mouth as it’s one of the symptoms.
Dry mouth and dry eyes are other symptoms of the autoimmune disease in which your immune system is disturbed, known as Sjogren’s syndrome. Scientists and microbiologists have not concluded any reason behind Sjogren’s syndrome due to lack of evidence.
Your lips, mouth, tongue, and throat are compromised, collectively affecting your voice and making it hoarse. You will sound harsh and croaky when you have a dry mouth due to marijuana.
Although you are talking in a normal tone, the effect of a dry mouth will make you sound like a rude person.
Cotton Mouth Cure: How to Get Rid of Cotton Mouth?
The above list of dry mouth symptoms will continuously appear if you don’t take action. However, here are some cotton mouth remedies you must consider as a dry mouth treatment.
Sugar-free candies and gums stimulate saliva production, keeping your mouth wet. When marijuana’s cannabinoids inhibit natural saliva production, the sugarless gum can stimulate saliva flow in your mouth.
So, always keep a pack of sugar-free gums with you if you often feel dry mouth due to marijuana.
Controlled Caffeine Intake
Caffeine-consisting products like coffee make your mouth dry. Coffee beans also have a molecule called Tannins which bind with the salivary glands and keep them from producing saliva. That’s why you feel a parched tongue after having a cup of coffee.
However, having a dry mouth doesn’t mean you stop drinking coffee. Since caffeine has other benefits, you must control your caffeine intake. For example, if you take three cups daily, reduce them to one or two.
Controlling your caffeine intake will help with dry mouth treatments, and you will get rid of the mouth problems quickly.
No Tobacco Consumption
Tobacco consists of a drug known as nicotine, which is a catalyst for the human nervous system. But, of course, you already know how bad nicotine is; it also minimizes the saliva flow, making your mouth completely dry.
According to American Dental Association, dry mouth due to inactive salivary glands is a condition known as a cotton mouth.
Therefore, you must relieve dry mouth by stopping tobacco consumption. Your doctor or dentist might suggest a few blood tests and ask for your medical history. That will help them cater better to your dental problems and prescribe medication.
The best way to get rid of a dry mouth is to sip water regularly. That will keep your mouth hydrated and help you fight the dry feeling. The best thing about water intake is you don’t have to worry about risk factors.
The more you drink water, the quicker you will get rid of a dry mouth. Similarly, more water boosts more saliva. It also improves your other health conditions like:
- Improved digestive system
- Normal blood flow
- Moisturized skin
You can also keep a spray full of water nearby because drinking water in quick succession is difficult.
Alcohol boosts dehydration in your body by releasing more salt and water. That’s why people feel dry mouth after drinking alcohol, and if they don’t drink water, they will get dehydrated.
That’s why it’s important to use non-alcoholic mouthwashes to keep your mouth fresh and eliminate dry mouth. Your doctor or dentist might suggest a fluoride toothpaste or a fluoride rinse for regular use.
Fluoride protects the enamel, the first layer of your teeth. So, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste before sleeping to prevent tooth decay caused by a dry mouth.
Wrapping Up with Cotton Mouth Meaning
Smoking marijuana affects your mouth dry which leads to other oral health conditions. This situation is called cotton mouth, which gradually increases if left unnoticed. So, follow the above home remedies to get rid of dry mouth and keep your oral health at its best.