“Cotton mouth” is an expression used to describe the feeling of an uncomfortably dry mouth. Another term for dry mouth is xerostomia. It occurs when our bodies fail to produce enough saliva. When you have cotton mouth, you might feel almost as though there is cotton wool filling your mouth. In this article, we will share numerous tips on how to get rid of cotton mouth.
While anyone can experience dry mouth, it is most common in older people. In fact, approximately one in five elderly people regularly have this problem. Saliva is important because it helps to control bacteria and fungi that are present in the mouth, preventing infection. It is also essential to processing food, and it cleanses and moistens the mouth.
Cotton mouth can cause many different problems, such as an increase in bacteria and greater risk of tooth decay or gum disease, greater risk of infections such as thrush, bad breath, issues with dentures, difficulty in swallowing and speech, and general discomfort.
- 1 Causes of Cotton Mouth
- 2 Symptoms of Cotton Mouth
- 3 How To Get Rid Of Cotton Mouth With Home Remedies
- 3.1 Breathe through your nose
- 3.2 Stay hydrated throughout the day
- 3.3 Use a humidifier
- 3.4 Over-the-counter saliva substitute
- 3.5 Chew sugar-free gum
- 3.6 Reduce your intake of alcohol
- 3.7 Reduce your caffeine intake
- 3.8 Quit smoking
- 3.9 Use a different mouthwash
- 3.10 Fennel seeds
- 3.11 Slippery elm
- 3.12 Cayenne pepper
- 3.13 Cardamom
- 3.14 Ginger
- 3.15 Grapeseed oil
- 3.16 Oil pulling
- 3.17 Gargle with salt water
- 3.18 Avoid certain juices
- 3.19 Avoid acidic foods
- 3.20 Avoid very dry and salty foods
- 3.21 Avoid oily foods
- 3.22 Aloe vera
- 3.23 American Ginseng
- 3.24 Baking soda and salt mouthwash
- 3.25 Acupuncture
- 3.26 Parsley
- 3.27 Boost your intake of vitamin C
- 3.28 Exercise more often
- 3.29 Aniseed
- 3.30 Celery
- 3.31 Rosemary
- 3.32 Try yoga
- 3.33 Garlic
- 3.34 Inhale steam
- 3.35 Vapor rub
- 3.36 Cayenne powder and raw honey
- 3.37 Use a diffuser
- 3.38 Avoid eating foods that encourage excess mucus production
- 3.39 Spicy tomato tea
- 3.40 Salt water nasal rinse
- 3.41 Massage pressure points
- 3.42 What Have We Learned?
Causes of Cotton Mouth
There are a number of different causes of cotton mouth. These include:
Dehydration that can lead to cotton mouth can be caused by factors such as not getting sufficient hydration, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, excessive sweating, burns, and blood loss.
Smoking or chewing tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco can adversely affect saliva production.
Breathing with your mouth open
Breathing with your mouth open can lead to dry mouth. You might breathe with your mouth open if you have nasal congestion.
There are a number of prescription and non-prescription drugs that can lead to dry mouth.
Certain medical treatments
There are medical treatments that may have dry mouth as a side effect. These include treatments that cause damage to the salivary glands. Examples might include chemotherapy treatments for cancer and radiation to the neck and head.
Specific medical conditions
Examples of medical conditions that might cause dry mouth include certain infections and Sjogren’s syndrome. Ensure that you see your doctor as soon as possible if you think you could have any medical condition.
Nerve damage to the neck or head caused by surgery or injury sometimes causes dry mouth. If you think you might have this problem, speak with a medical professional.
Removal of salivary glands
You will experience dry mouth if you have had surgical removal of the salivary glands.
Hormonal imbalances can lead to dry mouth. Make sure to speak with your doctor if you think that hormonal imbalances might be causing your problem.
Symptoms of Cotton Mouth
Symptoms of cotton mouth can include:
- Bad breath
- Dryness and stickiness in the mouth
- Dry nasal passages
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty chewing and tasting
- Difficulty with speaking
- Rawness, redness, and dryness of the tongue
- Tingling or burning of the tongue or mouth
- Dryness of the throat
- Cracked lips
- Split skin or sores at the corners of the mouth
- Sores in the mouth
- Frequent feeling of thirst
If your dry mouth is severe, your doctor might prescribe a special oral rinse to add more moisture to the mouth and/or a medication for the stimulation of saliva production (an example is pilocarpine hydrochloride).
How To Get Rid Of Cotton Mouth With Home Remedies
There are many things you can do at home to help relieve your cotton mouth. Let’s go over some of them here:
Breathe through your nose
It’s important to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth, as breathing through your mouth can dry it out. Nasal congestion can push you to breathe through your mouth, so if you find yourself nose plugged up you will need to resolve that problem as soon as you can. Consult with your doctor if you have problems doing so. You’ll find that we discuss some remedies for the nasal congestion that could be leading to your dry mouth in this way, later in this article.
Stay hydrated throughout the day
Staying hydrated throughout the day is essential to keeping your mouth appropriately moist. Sip water frequently. Additional things you can do include: eating more liquid and soft foods such as soups and stews; drinking coconut water (two glasses a day); drink vegetable juice, fruit juice, and smoothies; eating water-based vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, watermelon, and pineapple after partially freezing them; drinking green tea as well as chamomile tea and other herbal teas.
Use a humidifier
Think about using a humidifier in your home, and especially in your bedroom at night. This will help to keep your mouth moist, as well as your nasal passages clear. Both of these factors are important in helping to prevent cotton mouth.
Over-the-counter saliva substitute
Purchase an over-the-counter saliva substitute at your local drugstore. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for more information.
Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum will help to optimize your saliva production. It is important that you choose a sugar-free variety, as constantly chewing a sugary gum will put you at risk of tooth decay.
Reduce your intake of alcohol
Alcohol causes dehydration that can lead to dry mouth. Cut down on your intake of alcohol to help prevent cotton mouth.
Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine can lead to dehydration. Limit your intake of caffeine in order to prevent cotton mouth.
Smoking can lead to dry mouth. If you smoke, quit smoking as soon as possible. Consult with your doctor if you have trouble doing so. Quitting will also be greatly beneficial to your general health.
Use a different mouthwash
Avoid alcohol-based mouthwash, as alcohol can contribute to dry mouth. Try to find a mouthwash made for people who have dry mouth. Try to find a mouthwash with xylitol, as this substance helps to prevent plaque that can cause gingivitis.
It can be helpful to chew on fennel seeds several times during the day. Make sure to do so after each meal. This will help with both dry mouth and bad breath. If you wish, you can mix the fennel seeds with fenugreek seeds. Dry roast this mixture in a pan. After cooling, grind them and then add a tiny bit of salt. You should take half a tablespoon of this with water after you finish each meal.
Fennel seeds are beneficial for your overall health, as well. It is believed to reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer. It can also help you reach or maintain a healthy weight, and is believed to aid in breaking down fats and increase the efficiency of your metabolism.
Fennel seeds will also assist in promoting good digestion, and reducing the incidence of problems such as bowl irritation, heartburn, indigestion, gas, constipation, and bloating.
Slippery elm contains mucilage, so when it is mixed with water it becomes a sort of gel. This substance is helpful in dealing with bad breath and drying of the mouth. Mix two tablespoons of slippery elm in water and boil for about 10 minutes. After that, strain the liquid and let it cool. Add a bit of honey. You can drink this twice each day.
If you wish, you can make a slippery elm paste by mixing slippery elm with a little water. Rotate a little bit of the paste in your mouth, and then rinse with water. You can do this two times a day.
Cayenne pepper can help to boost the amount of moisture in your mouth by stimulating the saliva glands. Rub a tiny amount of ground cayenne pepper on your tongue with your finger. You can also add cayenne pepper to your meals, such as for example soup and salads. Talk to your doctor first if you want to take cayenne pepper in capsule form.
Cayenne pepper has many benefits for overall health, as well. It has anti-fungal properties, and can be helpful with pain relief. Cayenne pepper might even help prevent problems such as migraines and blood clots. It can also assist with toothache and weight loss.
You can moisten your mouth by chewing a few cardamom seeds. These seeds will also help to freshen your breath. If you prefer, you can add some ground cardamom seeds to the equivalent of a glass of water and boil for about 10 minutes. You can sip this twice a day.
Ginger will help to stimulate your salivary glands. It will also freshen your breath. You can chew on small pieces of ginger, or you can enjoy two or three cups of ginger tea a day. Add honey to the tea if you wish. You’ll be pleased to learn that ginger has many benefits for overall health, as well. It is believed to help prevent heart disease and stroke, and is known to soothe nausea and indigestion. Ginger also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Apply grapeseed oil to the inner part of your cheeks and your tongue with your fingers. You should put this on before bedtime, and then use warm water to rinse your mouth in the morning before brushing your teeth.
The method of oil pulling has been used in Indian folk medicine for thousands of years. It is believed to be useful in dealing with many oral problems, including dry mouth. To try this, swish one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil around your mouth for 15 minutes. Use warm water to rinse your mouth afterwards. Never swallow any of the oil. If you don’t have extra virgin coconut oil, you can use sesame oil instead.
Gargle with salt water
Mix a one-half teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. You should gargle with this four times every day. Doing so will cause the salivary glands to produce more saliva.
Avoid certain juices
Avoid drinking lemon juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, and tomato juice.
Avoid acidic foods
Cut down your intake of acidic foods such as grapefruit, apple, tomato, and orange.
Avoid very dry and salty foods
Reduce your intake of foods like dry bread, crackers, and cookies.
Avoid oily foods
Try to avoid oily foods. Such foods are thought to reduce saliva production.
You can drink up to a quarter of a cup of aloe vera juice a day to help deal with your cotton mouth. You can also use aloe vera juice to rinse out your mouth three times a day. Also, you can use a cotton swab to apply pure aloe vera gel around inside your mouth. Leave this on for a few minutes, and use cold water to rinse it out. You can do this three times daily.
It is possible that American Ginseng might help the body achieve better balance, including in the regulation of body fluids. You need to speak with your doctor before taking ginseng or any other kind of herbal remedy, as they might interact with any prescription medicines you might currently take or any existing medical condition.
Baking soda and salt mouthwash
Mix one-eighth of a teaspoon of salt with one-quarter a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water. You should use this as a mouthwash every three hours. Make sure to rinse your mouth out with plain water after doing this.
While not a home remedy, acupuncture is a practice of alternative medicine that you might find helpful. Make sure that the acupuncturist you select has appropriate accreditations and experience. If you go to an acupuncturist for treatment of your dry mouth, they will likely insert a number of disposable needles in your skin in a way that is believed to improve the flow of energy to the throat and mouth. The needles will probably be left in for about 30 minutes.
Try adding parsley to your daily diet. This will help with dry mouth and the bad breath it causes. You can incorporate parsley into many different meals. Parsley has many benefits for overall health. It is anti-inflammatory, and helps to boost the immune system. Parsley might even help to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis, and might help with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Boost your intake of vitamin C
Increasing the amount of vitamin C you get every day might help with your dry mouth.
Exercise more often
Try to exercise every day, ideally for about 40 minutes. This should be primarily cardio exercise. This is believed to be helpful in reducing the frequency and/or severity of dry mouth.
Try chewing on aniseed a few times a day. This will help with your dry mouth, and will also address the bad breath that the problem is causing. Try chewing on aniseed every day. Aniseed has antifungal properties, and contains many beneficial nutrients and minerals including, for example, potassium, zinc, iron, manganese, calcium, and magnesium. Aniseed can help support the health of the blood and bones.
Snack on celery a few times a day. This will help to encourage greater saliva production. Celery is also a healthy, low-calorie food. You’ll be pleased to learn that celery also helps to maintain the correct alkaline balance in the body. It also contains magnesium and other beneficial minerals that can help support the nervous system. Celery also has anti-inflammatory properties that will benefit your general health.
Boil a tablespoon of mint and one tablespoon of dried rosemary in water. Once you have taken it off the boil, cover it and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and cool it in the refrigerator. You can garble with this two times daily.
The relaxation and health benefits that yoga provides might help with your dry mouth. Yoga will also greatly benefit your overall health.
Garlic is a strong antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral natural substance. If you have nasal congestion (perhaps caused by a virus or bacteria) that is leading to your breathing with your mouth open and resulting dry or cotton mouth, try garlic to help clear you sinuses. Garlic is especially useful as it can help prevent overproduction of mucus.
To use garlic, you can boil three garlic cloves in a single cup of water. Once you’ve taken it off the boil, add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. You should drink this twice a day until the problem is resolved. Many people find it helpful to eat fresh garlic cloves, as well. Remember not to overdo it if you have a sensitive stomach, however. You might want to drink some milk first to coat your stomach.
If your cotton mouth is being caused by breathing through your mouth because of nasal congestion, try steam inhalation to clear your sinuses. Inhaling steam will also moisten and soothe the respiratory tract, making it easier to breathe. If you wish, you can add three drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil to a bowl of steaming hot water, and then inhale the steam for ten minutes. Another option is to add one tablespoon of crushed carom seeds, instead.
Vapor rub might be helpful if your dry mouth is caused by breathing through your mouth because of nasal congestion. Massage some vapor rub onto your chest, throat, and back just before you go to bed. You will be less likely to breathe with your mouth open during the night. The key ingredients of vapor rub, such as menthol, eucalyptus oil, and camphor, will help to clear your sinuses.
Cayenne powder and raw honey
Cayenne powder and raw honey can help clear congested nasal passages that are forcing you to breathe with your mouth open (and therefore leading to cotton mouth). Mix one tablespoon of raw honey with half a teaspoon of cayenne powder and eat this three times a day as needed.
Use a diffuser
If your cotton mouth is caused by nasal congestion, try using essential oils in a diffuser. You can alternatively simply put a few drops of one on a tissue and breathe in the fragrance. Some examples of potentially helpful essential oils include chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, pine, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, and basil.
Avoid eating foods that encourage excess mucus production
If it is nasal congestion that is causing your cotton mouth, try to avoid eating foods that encourage excessive mucus production. Examples of such foods include processed meat, eggs, soybeans, fish and shellfish, nuts (such as peanuts), dairy, and chocolate, and alcohol.
Spicy tomato tea
This remedy will be useful if you have dry mouth caused by nasal congestion. Make spicy tomato tea by boiling one tablespoon of chopped garlic, a cup of tomato juice, a pinch of Himalayan salt, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and a bit of chili sauce. Sip this helpful tea two times a day to help clear your nasal passages.
Salt water nasal rinse
If you have dry mouth caused by having to breathe with your mouth open, clear your nasal passages by using a saline spray. You can find this type of spray at your local drugstore.
Massage pressure points
Massaging specific pressure points can help to clear nasal congestion that is leading you to breathe with your mouth open (causing cotton mouth). Some of these pressure points include the inner ridge of your eyebrows; the groove in the middle of your upper lip and under your nose; the cheekbone, directly underneath the pupil of your eye; the sides of your nostrils; above the bridge of your nose, between your eyes;
What Have We Learned?
Cotton or dry mouth is a problem that might seem inconsequential but it shouldn’t be ignored, as it can lead to dental decay and other issues. Luckily, you have now learned about numerous home remedies that can help.
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