Saliva plays an important role in our body. It helps to enhance the taste of food, digestion and keeps the mouth clean and fresh. It also keeps the teeth strong and healthy besides lubricating the mouth and acts as a defense against bacteria. Excessive saliva is not uncommon and it is not a serious issue except for the inconvenience and embarrassment it produces for a person while speaking in front of others.
Ptyalism is a medical term used for excess production of saliva. Normally 1 to 1 ½ liter of saliva is produced daily but we do not realize it as we manage to gulp major amount of it into the stomach.However, there are many who are unable to swallow saliva and as a result it dribbles or drools out from the mouth.
Many people consider excess salivary secretion as a disease, but in fact it is one of the symptoms of an underlying health condition. Sometimes it is just a physiological finding as seen during pregnancy. Excess saliva therefore should not be neglected and patient should consult his doctor or dentist to detect the underlying medical sickness which triggers excess of saliva.
What Causes Excess Saliva When Sick?
There are several reasons for excess saliva when a child or an adult falls sick.Basically there are two main reasons for excess saliva; increased secretion from the salivary gland or inability to swallow during sickness. Below are given some of underlying diseases causing excess of saliva and drooling.
- Bell’s palsy: Increased saliva can occur in Bell’s palsy because of weakness in muscles of one side of mouth. Saliva drools out from the affected side.
- Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder where the brain cells die slowly. Patient often loses his senses and as a result he may not gulp saliva collected in his mouth. It may dribble out through the mouth.
- Arsenic and mercury poisoning.
- Apthous ulcers in mouth.
- Inflammation in gum and jaw.
- Teeth and jaw disorders.
- A stone in the duct of salivary gland.
- Gastrointestinal reflux
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and excitement
- Liver diseases
- Cold and flu
- Sore throat
Increased saliva is common during pregnancy. It is caused due to hormonal changes that occur in a pregnant woman. The problem is temporary and rarely a cause of concern. New dentures are also responsible for excess saliva production.
How To Stop Excess Saliva When Sick?
Although saliva in excess may not be a serious concern for an individual, it may become a cause of embarrassment for him. With accumulated saliva in mouth, he may find difficult to speak in public. The first step in getting rid of this annoying symptom is to search for the underlying cause.
Excess saliva does not remain for a long time in certain diseases such as mumps, Bell’s palsy, tonsillitis, sore throat, apthous ulcers etc. Once the condition is cured secretion reduces. However in certain disorders such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease patient may require medications to control increased salivary production. In case of dental conditions, addressing the problem will eventually curb excess of salivation.
Eating certain foods is a sure way to eliminate excess saliva. Eat crackers, toast, dry cereals and salted sunflower seeds frequently to curb increased saliva. Also avoid eating spicy and sweet food as they are known to increase the secretion of saliva.