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
  • Mumps
  • Stroke Risk
  • Dehydration
  • High Histamine
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage
  • Tendency Toward Allergic Reactions

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:
frequent postprandial somnolence
pitted nails
being highly motivated
slightly reduced arm function
rapid decline in speaking ability
occasional unexplained fevers
recent onset neck pain
good creativity/imagination
normal ANA levels
chronic nausea
hiatal hernia
hallucinations
... 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
Stroke Risk 94% Confirm
High Histamine 23% Unlikely
Mumps 19% Unlikely
Dehydration 1% Ruled out
Rheumatoid Arthritis 1% Ruled out
Tendency Toward Allergic Reactions 0% Ruled out
Diabetes II 0% Ruled out
Cigarette Smoke Damage 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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