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Excessive Saliva? What It Could Mean (And How To Deal)

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When something is described as "mouth-watering", this is usually meant as a compliment to great taste. But when you suffer from excessive saliva, the idea of something being mouth-watering could leave you feeling embarrassed about your condition. Sometimes called hypersalivation, excess saliva production could provide key clues into your overall health. As it is generally 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 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, creating an often embarrassing issue.

Causes of Excess Saliva

More often than not, excess 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 tranquillisers 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 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 from person to person; in general, citrus fruits and alcohol can decrease saliva production. Swap your usual mouthwash for a formula that has no burn of alcohol, which is a naturally drying agent that can send signals 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 socialise. 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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