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.

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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):
  • Diabetes II
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Chemotherapy Side-Effects
  • High Histamine

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:
painful inguinal nodes
rheumatoid arthritis
having had many sexual partners
elevated B12 levels
dry eyes
recently quitting smoking
recent onset neck pain
frequent swollen axillary nodes
herpes type II
mildly elevated ANA levels
frequent unexplained nausea
moderate unexplained weight loss
... and more than 100 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
Alzheimer's Disease 99% Confirm
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis 23% Unlikely
High Histamine 14% Unlikely
Diabetes II 4% Ruled out
Chemotherapy Side-Effects 1% Ruled out
Cigarette Smoke Damage 0% Ruled out
HIV/AIDS 0% Ruled out
Sjogren's Syndrome 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.  Those taking two different medications are up to 40% more likely to suffer from 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:
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