From cannabis to cigarettes, the act of smoking comes with the risk of bad breath. Weed comes with particularly high odds due to xerostomia, more commonly known to smokers as cottonmouth or dry mouth.
In the past, cottonmouth was believed to be a reaction to harsh smoke irritating the mouth’s sensitive membranes. Cottonmouth is now better understood as a reaction to the THC in cannabis, which inhibits the production of saliva in the mouth.
Even if you do not notice it your friends, colleagues, family members, and strangers will, and no one enjoys terrible breath no matter what the cause. There are a few different things that you can do to help get rid of a nasty case of weed breath, as well as others that can work as an aid to prevent it from ever occurring at all.
Tips to avoid weed breath and dry mouth
Before panic sets in and you spend social events regularly breathing into your hands to see if your breath smells, weed breath can be mitigated. It cannot be removed entirely, but enough to prevent friends and family from avoiding you in the street.
If your throat becomes sore while smoking, you have difficulty speaking, or everything you eat starts to taste slightly off, it is time to take action. Those are all sure signs that THC has begun to prohibit your saliva production.
1. Brush your teeth
A rigorous oral health care routine is going to be the most effective tool in your arsenal for battling bad weed breath. Especially as a smoker, teeth should be brushed, flossed, and rinsed at least twice a day to prevent plaque, tartar, and bacteria build up all of which will cause bad breath even if you do not smoke weed.
2. Chew gum
Though it is more of a temporary solution, if you get stuck in a pinch, chewing gum can help to keep your teeth clean. Gum will also help to stimulate the salivary glands which will eliminate cottonmouth and fight off lousy weed breath. Stronger flavors like mint, peppermint, and cinnamon are much more effective at stimulating the production of saliva than sweet and sugar-filled brands.
Unfortunately, weed breath will always be something you battle with as long as you smoke cannabis. One of the few ways to avoid it entirely is to switch to vaping. Although vapes do also dry out the mouth which can encourage bad breath, THC and CBD vape juices and distillates contain fewer impurities than flower which should help avoid leaving a stink behind.
4. Clean your smoking accessories
Most weed smokers know that cleaning their devices is an essential part of owning a smoking tool. The taste of your bud can be negatively affected if your tools get too dirty. What smokers may not realize is that the build-up can contribute to weed breath as well.
When you heat your bowl of flower which includes all of the old built-up resins, the inhale can produce a gross aftertaste. To avoid this, it can be helpful to maintain a regular piece cleaning regime.
5. Stay hydrated
When you smoke weed the heat that enters your mouth will dry it out causing the infamous cottonmouth symptoms. This can be uncomfortable as well as detrimental to both your oral health and the state of your breath.
If the mouth is dry too often, it leads to an increase in bacteria, plaque buildup, cavities, and resins clinging to the tongue which can all negatively affect smells that contribute to bad weed breath. When you are actively smoking, try to keep a tall glass of water handy, and take generous sips in between tokes for the best results.
6. Breath mints
Another quick fix is the ever-popular breath mint. Mints will act similar to gum but they tend to be much stronger with additives that are designed to linger for fresher smelling breath that lasts. The best breath mints to battle weed breath will have strong flavors that make your mouth water as they stimulate the salivary glands like cinnamon, spearmint, or peppermint.
Though edibles do tend to come with an earthy cannabis taste and even a slight smell, once they are eaten the scent is completely gone. Making the switch to edibles can save your lung and oral health while making bad weed breath a thing of the past. To avoid the harsh weed taste, try using scent and flavor-free tinctures and oils when you make edibles.
8. Do not use tobacco
All smoking habits come paired with some sort of bad odor. This is for a few reasons. The first being the oils that are produced by the plants that are used including terpenes and resins. The second is caused by the dry mouth factor that will happen when the mouth receives exposure to heat.
Tobacco is filled with 93 known harmful chemicals that stink terribly when burnt, so mixing tobacco with your weed is likely going to result in the worst case of weed breath possible. If you must have the tobacco leaf taste then try to choose a milder alternative such as rolling a blunt filled with just cannabis flower.
9. Snack on fruit
Using fruit juice as a weed breath neutralizer is incredibly effective, almost as much as brushing your teeth. Citrus fruits are effective due to their high levels of polyphenols which are a compound that reliably masks bad smells. They also help to encourage saliva production which naturally rinses and cleans the mouth of all odors. The best fruits to mask weed breath are apples, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, clementines, and pineapple.
10. Enzyme oral rinse
Regular mouthwash is one of the first things that many weed smokers will reach for to mask the odor in their mouths, but they are not all that effective on their own. Some popular brands will even cause dry mouth themselves due to their alcohol content which in the end will leave you smelling and tasting worse than before you used it.
Find an enzyme oral rinse like TheraBreath that is designed specifically to mimic the proteins found naturally in saliva that help to clean the mouth. Use it immediately after smoking for a fast and easy solution to stinky breath.