Saliva performs various functions right from enhancing taste to helping digestion of food. It also acts as a lubricant and helps to maintain healthy teeth and oral cavity. Excessive saliva during an illness may be common and need not be considered a very serious issue. However, you may wonder as to what causes excess saliva when sick? It is important to look into the causes of excess salivation during illness and also the ways to treat it or how to stop it.
Excessive salivation is medically termed as sialorrhea or ptyalism. While this may be increased production of saliva, it can also occur when some people are unable to swallow the saliva produced normally and eventually it drools out from the ambit of the mouth.
Excessive saliva when sick or inability to swallow saliva may be due to certain underlying conditions, which need to be evaluated. Once the cause of excess salivation is known, question of how to stop it can be dealt with.
What are the Causes of Excessive Saliva When Sick?
There could be numerous causes for the secretion of excess saliva when sick. But excessive saliva is mainly a result of increased secretion of the salivary gland or an increased ability to swallow saliva during illness.
The symptom of excessive salivation may also be noted in some other conditions, which can be one of the causes of excess saliva when sick. These include
- Mouth ulcers
- Sore throat cold and flu, mumps and tonsillitis
- Specific teeth and jaw disorders
- Gastrointestinal reflux, feeling of nausea and vomiting and liver diseases
- A noticeable stone in the duct of the salivary gland
- Feeling of anxiety and excitement
- Arsenic and mercury poisoning.
Acidity and GERD: - Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or water brash is one of the most primary causes of excessive saliva when sick and may be seen more in the morning. In this the acidic contents in the stomach may reach up to the throat and cause irritation. The person may feel sore in the throat with bitter taste in the mouth and a feeling of nausea and vomiting.
Increased Consumption of Simple Sugars - It is another most important cause of excessive saliva as the digestive glands produce more saliva to digest simple sugars.
Medications: - Some medicines can be one of the causes of excess saliva when sick, as a side effect of the medicines. These medicines include potassium chlorate, pilocarpine, ketamine, clozapine, rabeprazole, risperidone, to name a few of them.
Medical Conditions – Medical conditions and infections like oral infections, mouth ulcers, pancreatitis, rabies, liver disorders and serotonin syndrome too can cause excess saliva when sick.
Metallic and Chemical Toxins: - Regular exposure to the elements like mercury, arsenic and copper or any form of insecticides, can be a cause of excessive saliva when sick.
Some neurological disorders like paralysis, myasthenia gravis, etc. may also be a reason behind excess saliva. Some underlying neurological conditions, which can be the causes of excessive saliva when sick include,
Bell's Palsy: - Bell's palsy is a condition that causes weakness in the muscles of the face and is prominent on one side of the mouth. Bell's palsy affects muscle control on one side of the face and can be an important cause of excess saliva when sick. In Bell's palsy, excessive saliva can be noticed drooling from affected side.
Parkinson's Disease: - This is a neurological disorder in which the patient frequently loses control over the senses. Due to this the person is unable to gulp the saliva secreted and accumulated in the mouth. Parkinson's disease, which affects effective swallowing is another common cause of excess saliva when sick.
In certain cases, radiation therapy or an on-going treatment of cancer can cause excessive secretion of saliva.
How to Stop Excess Saliva?
The treatment of excessive saliva depends on specific contributing factors and the underlying causes. To stop excess saliva when sick, it is important to treat the causes and treat the underlying conditions. If excess saliva is a result of certain medications, the physician would advise stopping or changing those. There also are treatment options for excess saliva and the medicines need to be used according to the medical advice.
Home Remedies to Stop Excessive Saliva
Excess saliva can also be stopped using home remedies, if the cause of excess salivation is not serious and does not require any other treatment. Some of the home remedies effective in excess saliva include
- Cloves - This is an effective home remedy, which helps to lessen the secretion of excessive saliva. It is also an antibacterial and helps to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent or cure oral infections.
- Cinnamon Tea: - It is considered one of the purest and efficient forms of natural remedy to stop excess saliva when sick. Cinnamon tea is prepared, strained and two teaspoons of honey are added to it while it is still warm.
- Indian Gooseberry (Amla Powder): - It is very useful and efficient in minimizing excessive salivation. It helps to control water brash and sour taste in the mouth. It is also efficient in healing the symptoms of acidity, GERD and ulcer. Use the powder by blending in warm water after meal and it will definitely be efficient in reducing the excess saliva when sick.