Excessive Saliva? What It Could Mean (and How to Deal)

When someone says something is "mouth-watering," it's usually meant as a compliment to great taste. But when you suffer with excessive saliva, the idea of something being mouth-watering could leave you feeling embarrassed about your condition. Sometimes called hypersalivation, an excess of saliva production could give you key clues into your overall health. Usually the side effect of another condition, you should always seek advice from your dentist or doctor if you think your mouth produces too much saliva.

Here are some basics on saliva. With these facts in hand you may be better prepared to handle this problem.

Saliva's Role

The American Dental Association outlines the important roles that saliva plays in oral health, including washing food particles from teeth, breaking down food in preparation for digestion, and even contributing high levels of calcium to keep teeth strong. In fact, a chronically dry mouth is often a precursor to tooth decay and cavities. Still, your body should be producing just enough saliva to perform essential processes and nothing more. Drooling or constantly having to swallow might be a sign that your body is generating too much saliva, making for an embarrassing issue.

Causes of Excess Saliva

More often than not, excessive saliva is a side effect of another issue. The British Journal of Medical Practitioners (BJMP) lists some of the following reasons for hypersalivation:

  • Pregnancy
  • Oral inflammation due to teething in babies
  • Oral infections such as tonsillitis
  • Certain medications, including tranquilizers and anticonvulsants
  • Acid reflux
  • Neuromuscular diseases, such as Parkinson's, stroke and paralysis

Because excess saliva is typically the side effect of a more serious issue, it's important to seek medical attention if your saliva output is such that it's affecting your daily life or causing other issues, such as chapped lips, bad breath, dehydration or speech difficulties.

Dealing with Hypersalivation

The best way to stop your body from producing too much saliva is to address the underlying issue. In many cases, changing medications or getting treatment for medical issues can help resolve excess saliva. But there are other things that you can do to reduce how much saliva your body produces.

Avoiding foods and drinks that can cause saliva production, for example, can help. Triggers may vary person to person, citrus fruits and alcohol in general can decrease saliva production. Swap your usual mouthwash for a formula that has no burn of alcohol, like Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield™ Mouthwash. Alcohol is a naturally drying agent and can signal to your mouth to produce even more saliva. You can also find relief by staying hydrated to help thin out excess saliva so it's swallowed more easily.

Dealing with excessive saliva can definitely put a damper on the way that you talk, eat and socialize. By addressing the issues causing your body to overproduce, you'll be able to enjoy a mouth-watering treat without feeling self-conscious.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.