Saliva is vital for maintaining healthy oral cavity. It is the secretion produced by salivary glands which constantly keep the mouth moist. Saliva is a thin watery fluid secreted by tubular structures called salivary gland which open in the mouth. There are 3 major salivary glands; the parotid, submandibular and sublingual gland, besides hundreds of other tiny glands present in the inner lining of oral cavity.
Saliva has various roles to play such as it mixes with the food and helps in chewing and swallowing. Its antibacterial properties help to fight off bacteria entering into the mouth etc.Reduced saliva production can lead to dry mouth, tooth decay, bad taste in mouth, mouth sores, yeast infection in mouth etc. Several disorders of salivary gland contribute in producing less amount of saliva.
What Are The Causes Of Decreased Saliva Production?
As mentioned earlier the three major salivary glands are responsible for most of the salivary secretion. Many people complain of dry mouth as there is less amount of saliva in their mouth. It is because either enough saliva is not produced by the salivary gland or the tube that carries saliva from the gland to mouth is blocked.Below are given some of the cause for less secretion of saliva.
- Malfunction of salivary gland: The condition is more common in adults for producing less amount of saliva. Xerostomia is a medical word used when the mouth becomes dry due to lack of saliva. Diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or infections such as HIV, mumps, can cause dryness and reduced saliva secretion. Antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics and many other medicines are known to lessen secretion of saliva in mouth. Malfunction can temporarily occur due to stress and anxiety where the glands fail to produce saliva.
- Saliva secretion can be affected due to blockage of the tube that carries salvia. Stones in the salivary duct which carry saliva into the mouth is one of the leading causes for less amount of saliva.
- Swelling of salivary gland from diseases such as mumps, sarcoidosis, Sjogren’s disease etc is known to affect salivary secretion.
- The salivary gland may not produce enough saliva due to salivary gland tumor. It can be cancerous or non cancerous tumor.
How To Increase Saliva Production Naturally?
The treatment for increasing saliva secretion depends on the underlying cause. For example if dry mouth and reduced secretion of saliva occurs due to infection, antibiotics will help to treat infection and subsequently after few days the secretion becomes normal.
- Chewing sugar free gum is beneficial for stimulating the salivary gland to increase saliva secretion.
- If the underlying cause is certain drugs, try to avoid them and if possible talk with the doctor to prescribe some other alternative drugs which does not have dryness in mouth as one of its side effect.
- Massage to the salivary glands and applying warm compresses helps to release saliva from the blocked salivary duct.
- Dehydration is another cause for dry mouth. If you are dehydrated, try to consume more water and fluids.
- Fennel seeds are useful for stimulating saliva. It also helps to curtail bad breath that accompanies with dry mouth.