Saliva Quantity

What Causes Dry Mouth Or Excess Saliva?

Dry mouth or excess saliva can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose dry mouth or excess saliva, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "dry mouth or excess saliva" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Dehydration
  • Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia
  • Mumps
  • Diabetes II
  • Drug Side-Effects
  • Lichen Planus
  • Hypertension

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
very great unexplained weight gain
greatly reduced skin elasticity
very dry eyes
hot flashes during & after period
abnormal taste in mouth
low lymphocyte count
allergies to certain foods
elevated eosinophil count
occasional confusion/disorientation
being a lethargic person
slightly tight muscles
... and more than 130 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of dry mouth or excess saliva:
Cause Probability Status
Dehydration 96% Confirm
Mumps 24% Unlikely
HIV/AIDS 24% Unlikely
Lichen Planus 0% Ruled out
Drug Side-Effects 0% Ruled out
Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia 0% Ruled out
Diabetes II 0% Ruled out
Hypertension 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Mouth/Oral Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about saliva quantity:
In general, how plentiful is the saliva in your mouth?
Possible responses:
→ My mouth is often very dry
→ My mouth is sometimes a bit dry
→ Normal / don't know
→ I always have plenty of saliva
→ Excess saliva, with a tendency to drool
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate very dry mouth, dry mouth, abundant saliva in mouth or excess saliva in mouth, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
(Prescription) Drug Side-Effects

Hundreds of drugs list dry mouth as a possible side-effect.  Antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants are among the drugs that can cause dry mouth.

Chemotherapy Side-Effects

Radiation can damage the salivary glands and reduce the amount of saliva produced.

Cigarette Smoke Damage

Smoking or chewing tobacco can reduce saliva production.

Sjogren's Syndrome

In cases of Sjogren's syndrome, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks tear ducts and saliva glands, leading to chronically dry eyes and dry mouth (xerostomia).

... and also rule out issues such as: