Health

Am I salivating too much?

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, June 25, 2017



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 plays an important role 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 following list the 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 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 medication 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. 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 socialise. By addressing the issues causing your body to overproduce, you'll be able to enjoy a mouth-watering treat without feeling self-conscious.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at Shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, for an opportunity to take advantage of weekly specials.

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