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    Excessive saliva


    Definition of excessive saliva

    Excessive saliva — increased amounts of saliva in your mouth — is usually a temporary problem and rarely cause for concern. Normally, your salivary glands produce about 1 to 3 pints (0.5 to 1.5 liters) of saliva a day. However, because swallowing occurs frequently and unconsciously, you don’t generally notice the saliva. If you suddenly seem to have excessive saliva in your mouth, it could be because your salivary glands are making more saliva than usual (sialorrhea) or because you’re having difficulty swallowing.

    Causes of excessive saliva

    Excessive saliva can be caused by either an increase in your body’s production of saliva or a decrease in your ability to swallow or keep saliva in your mouth.

    Causes of increased saliva production

    1. Dentures that are new or don’t fit well
    2. GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
    3. Infection in your mouth or throat
    4. Medications, such as clonazepam (Klonopin), clozapine (Clozaril, Fazaclo ODT), pilocarpine (Salagen) and carbidopa-levodopa (Parcopa, Sinemet)
    5. Pregnancy
    6. Stomatitis (an inflammation of mucous membranes in your mouth)

    Rarer causes of increased saliva production include:

    1. Arsenic poisoning
    2. Bell’s palsy (a condition that causes facial muscle weakness or paralysis)
    3. Esophageal atresia (a disorder present at birth in which the esophagus doesn’t develop properly)
    4. Mercury poisoning
    5. Rabies (a deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected animals)
    6. Syphilis (a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact)
    7. Tuberculosis (an infectious disease that affects your lungs)

    Causes of a decreased ability to swallow or to retain saliva in your mouth

    1. Acute sinusitis
    2. Allergies
    3. Chronic sinusitis
    4. Enlarged adenoids
    5. Tumors that affect your tongue or lip movement

    Conditions that affect your muscle coordination or the function of your oral cavity also may decrease your ability to swallow or to retain saliva in your mouth. These conditions include:

    1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a neurological disease that causes muscle weakness)
    2. Autism spectrum disorder
    3. Cerebral palsy (a disorder that affects your ability to coordinate body movements)
    4. Dementia
    5. Down syndrome
    6. Fragile X syndrome (a form of inherited mental retardation)
    7. Multiple sclerosis (a disease in which your body’s immune system attacks the sheath that covers your nerves)
    8. Myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder)
    9. Parkinson’s disease
    10. Stroke

    When to see a doctor

    Schedule a doctor’s visit if you’re concerned about persistent, excessive salivation. It’s important to determine if the problem is due to increased saliva production or a decreased ability to swallow. Treatment of persistent, excessive salivation is directed at the underlying cause, if possible.

    SOURCEMayo Clinic
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