Conditions,  Q&A

Why is My Mouth Producing so Much Saliva Suddenly?

This article is a part of our Q&A series in which we give detailed answers to our readers' questions. Have a question? Don't hesitate and send it to us to get a detailed answer!

Sudden Excessive Salivation

Sudden excessive salivation, or hypersalivation, can be a somewhat alarming experience. Saliva plays a crucial role in the mouth, aiding in digestion and maintaining oral hygiene. However, when the mouth starts producing saliva in excess amounts, it can be due to various reasons ranging from harmless to severe. This guide will walk you through the various aspects of sudden excessive salivation.

Understanding Saliva Production

The Role of Saliva

Saliva is essential for several functions:

  • Lubricates the mouth and throat
  • Helps in swallowing
  • Begins the digestive process by breaking down food
  • Protects teeth from decay
  • Neutralizes acids in the mouth

Normal Saliva Production

On average, a healthy person produces between 0.75 to 1.5 liters of saliva per day. The salivary glands, located in and around the mouth and throat, are responsible for saliva production.

Causes of Sudden Excessive Salivation

There are numerous causes for sudden excessive salivation.
Here are some of the common ones:

  • Medications and Supplements: Certain medications and supplements can stimulate saliva production.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, can cause excessive salivation.
  • Dental Appliances: Wearing braces or retainers can sometimes stimulate the salivary glands.
  • Oral Infections: Infections in the mouth can sometimes cause an increase in saliva as the body tries to flush out the infection.
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease): This condition can cause stomach acids to enter the mouth, which may stimulate excessive salivation as a defense mechanism.
  • Bell’s Palsy: A condition that causes facial weakness or paralysis can affect the control of salivary glands.
  • Allergies: Allergic reactions can sometimes cause an increase in saliva production.
  • Taste Stimulation: Eating certain foods that are sour or spicy can temporarily increase saliva production.
  • Psychological Factors: Anxiety, stress, or mental health disorders can sometimes cause hypersalivation.
  • Poisoning or Toxin Exposure: Exposure to certain poisons or toxins can cause excessive salivation.
  • Neurological Disorders: Conditions like Parkinson’s disease can affect muscle control, leading to drooling.

Diagnosing the Cause

Identifying the cause of sudden excessive salivation is crucial for proper management. A healthcare provider will take a detailed history, perform a physical examination, and may order tests such as blood tests, imaging, or refer you to specialists.

Managing Sudden Excessive Salivation

The management of hypersalivation depends on the underlying cause:

  • For medication-induced salivation, adjusting the medication or changing to an alternative may be necessary
  • Oral infections should be treated promptly with antibiotics or antifungal medications
  • GERD can be managed with lifestyle modifications and medications
  • In cases where psychological factors are the cause, counseling or medications to manage anxiety or depression can be helpful
  • For issues related to dental appliances, a dentist may need to make adjustments
  • Pregnancy-induced salivation usually resolves post-delivery, but some women find relief by using mouthwashes or adjusting their diet

When to Seek Help

It’s important to seek medical attention if excessive salivation is accompanied by difficulty breathing, signs of infection (fever, pain), sudden onset of neurological symptoms, or if it significantly impacts your quality of life.

Bottom Line

Sudden excessive salivation can be a symptom of various underlying conditions or a reaction tocertain stimuli. Understanding the potential causes and seeking appropriate medical advice is key to managing and treating this condition effectively. It’s important to communicate openly with your healthcare provider about any associated symptoms or changes in medication and lifestyle that may be contributing to excessive salivation. By addressing the underlying cause, most individuals can find relief and improve their oral health and quality of life.

This Q&A series article is complete and was published on July 17, 2023, and last updated on July 18, 2023.

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