Cotton mouth is an unpleasant dry feeling in the mouth that is clinically referred to as xerostomia (the medical term to describe dry mouth). Cotton mouth feels like someone has soaked up all the saliva in the mouth, leaving only behind cotton and a dry uncomfortable feeling. While experiencing cotton mouth, the lack of saliva invites bacteria and fungi to grow which may lead to infections such as gingivitis and tooth decay. It may also lead to bad breath. Having enough saliva in the mouth is important because the enzymes in saliva help with digestion, stabilize pH levels in the mouth and assure there is enough oxygen in the mouth to keep oral tissues healthy.
Xerostomia is certainly unpleasant. Symptoms include:
- The mouth feels dry and sticky
- Frequent thirst
- A dry throat
- Mouth sores
- Burning or raw feeling on the tongue
- Difficulty tasting and swallowing
- A sore throat
- Dry nasal passages
- Bad breath
This article further describes the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention of cotton mouth.
Causes of Cotton Mouth
The most common time for cotton mouth is usually in the morning or while sleeping at night. For many, an alarm clock may not prompt them to get out of bed, but the feeling of cotton mouth will and send them straight to the kitchen for a drink of water.
There are several causes for cotton mouth that include medications (for everything from colds to Parkinsons disease) to alcohol. Diseases such as diabetes, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, and hypertension are all examples of medical conditions that may lead to dry mouth. Cancer treatments, nerve damage and dehydration are also causes of cotton mouth.
Non-medical causes of cotton mouth are typically related to lifestyle. Smoking, chewing tobacco, excess caffeine and general breathing from the mouth often leave people with cotton mouth. Any of these activities, as well as the medical conditions listed above can reduce oxygen in the mouth and inhibit saliva production. When the mouth isnt getting enough oxygen, having an uncomfortable dry mouth isnt the only problem. This oxygen depleted environment creates the perfect breeding ground for sulfur producing bacteria which make breath associated with dry mouth even more unpleasant.
Treatment of Cotton Mouth
Fortunately, dry mouth can be overcome and there are treatment methods available for cotton mouth. Many recommendations are made for fighting cotton mouth, such as drinking more water, sucking on hard candy, chewing gum, or trying harder to breathe from the nose instead of the mouth. Of course, most of these things are difficult, if not impossible for many people to achieve in their sleep. There is also a common thread to all these suggestions: an increase in saliva production. Click here to learn more about Dry Mouth Treatment.
Ideally, a treatment for cotton mouth will not only increase the production of saliva, but will also take care of the accompanying bad breath that goes with it. TheraBreath® offers several products that can help dry mouth sufferers achieve both these goals, such as the ZOX breath mint which does not contain sugar, aspartame, or saccharin. Instead ZOX breath mints rely on a blend of zinc, oxygen, and xylitol that stimulate salivary glands and attack the problem of dry mouth at its core. Other great cotton mouth treatment products from TheraBreath® include the PLUS Oral Rinse and toothpaste that inhibit the production of sulfides that contribute to bad breath.
How to Prevent Cotton Mouth
Many people believe conditions such as dry mouth and bad breath are hereditary, and point to relatives who suffer from the same predicament as a sort of testament to this belief. The actual cause is related to the bacteria produced in the mouth as well as the lack of oxygen. The dry mouth similarity that family members may experience comes from having similar shaped tongues that hold onto these bacteria with a little extra fervor. For those who suffer from this problem, oral care products that fight bacteria with the same zeal may be in order, such as a the TheraBreath® Tongue Scraper. Therabreath® products have been proven to have the lasting effect that not only treats oral health problems like dry mouth, but helps prevent these issues by helping the mouth continue to make the oxygen-rich saliva it needs to stay healthy.
In addition to the use of TheraBreath® products, it is important to take practical steps in order to prevent cotton mouth. Since dehydration is a common cause, drinking plenty of water throughout the day may give people a head start when it comes to preventing cotton mouth. Too much caffeine acts as a diuretic, which also contributes to dehydration, so cutting back on coffee can also help. Limiting or eliminating tobacco products will also help stop these products from stifling the oxygen in one's mouth. For those who suffer from dry mouth due to medication, there may be alternative medications they can take that won't cause the condition. Possible options should be discussed with a doctor.
While there are many options that claim to help with dry mouth, many of them may do more harm than good especially if they are used consistently. Ingredients such as certain artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame, sugar, and alcohol can cause further dehydration and may ultimately contribute to the cotton mouth. These products are less expensive because they are designed to treat the symptoms of dry mouth, but not the cause.
Whether dry mouth suffers are cursed with tongue conditions that hold onto bacteria (geographic tongue), are afflicted with a medical condition where dry mouth is a symptom, or must take medication that lends itself to cotton mouth, increasing the oxygen and saliva levels in the mouth are vital to overcoming their predicament. TheraBreath® guarantees the products included in their dry mouth solutions category will treat cotton mouth. These products include the TheraBreath® Oral Rinse, TheraBreath® toothpaste, TheraBreath® PLUS oral rinse, an extra strength formula with green tea and aloe. TheraBreath PLUS toothpaste is made with OXYD-8, which helps to stabilize oxygen levels in the mouth. Aktiv Oxigen tablets dissolve in water to create an oxygenating oral solution.
Although many people may have a stronger predisposition toward cotton mouth, it doesn't mean that the condition is out of their control. Overall, it is important that people with cotton mouth not underestimate the challenge of xerostomia and realize that only the best oral care products are capable of truly managing the symptoms of dry mouth. Click here to view the complete line of TheraBreath® solutions made specifically for cotton mouth treatment