Saliva is a substance secreted by the salivary glands composed mainly of water and also of enzymes, minerals and proteins. Per day, between 1 and 1.5 liters of saliva are released. It is of great importance for the normal functioning of our body. Among its functions are: the formation of the food bolus, help to feel taste and the release of enzymes that collaborate in digestion, the prevention of both oral and general infections, maintaining the bacterial balance, the maintenance of dental enamel, the lubrication of the mucosa avoiding injury, and help in speech.
When the amount is not enough, we speak of thick saliva or xerostomia (as it is called medically) and it poses great difficulties for those who suffer from it. The search for solutions must be aimed at solving the cause, so that, in this way, the relief is lasting. For this reason, from FastlyHeal , we provide you with the most important information about the causes of thick saliva , as well as the available treatments .
Table of Contents
How do I know if I have thick saliva?
Knowing the many functions that saliva has, it is understandable that the symptoms of xerostomia are so many and so diverse :
- Thick, sticky, or foamy saliva.
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking.
- Dry lips, tongue, mucosa.
- Bad breath.
- Injuries to the mouth.
- Weight loss in older adults.
- Premature tooth loss.
- Frequent tooth decay.
- Mushroom in the mouth.
- Inflammation in the gums.
- Increased gastric reflux.
Causes of thick saliva
Different problems can generate a decrease in saliva secretion and differentiate between acute (easily reversible) and chronic (or permanent) causes:
- Salivary gland infection or stones.
- Side effect of medications (antihistamines, some antidepressants, diuretics, analgesics, bronchodilators, amphetamines, among others).
- Autoimmune diseases (such as Sjögren ).
- Infections (hepatitis, AIDS).
- Consumption of addictive substances (alcohol, tobacco, drugs).
- Radiation therapy (especially in the head and neck).
- Birth problems (congenital diseases).
- Breathing through the mouth.
What to do if I have thick saliva?
Because there are multiple causes of thick saliva, it is of utmost importance that you go to the doctor or dentist to achieve a proper diagnosis and, most likely, that way the solution of the problem will be easier.
When a patient with xerostomia comes to see a professional, first, they will be asked different questions , such as:
- How long have you had the problem?
- Do you notice improvement with any food, candy?
- Are you taking any medication?
- Do you wake up with a dry mouth at night?
- Are your eyes or nose also dry?
- Is it hard for you to swallow?
- Do you have a hard time eating dry foods like toast or crackers?
Sometimes, a questioning and a good examination are enough to reach the diagnosis, others, it is necessary to resort to studies such as x-rays, measurements of the amount of excreted saliva, blood tests and, in some cases, even gland biopsy if suspected autoimmune diseases.
Salva thick: treatment
First, the cause must be identified, if it is an acute cause, the resolution of it will bring about improvement. For example: treatment of infections, removal of calculus from the affected salivary gland, change of medication, drinking enough water.
If it were a chronic xerostomia, the improvement would probably be slower and in relation to the evolution of the disease that generates it. It should be noted that in the case of radiotherapy (especially in the head and neck), medication is sometimes used at the same time to minimize its damaging effects on healthy tissue.
If the improvement is slow or imperceptible, you can resort to other measures, such as drugs or natural treatments.
Drugs in cases of thick saliva
There are two types of medication that can be used: salivary stimulants (sialogogues) and salivary substitutes.
- Stimulants of saliva production: to achieve some type of result, the tissue of the salivary glands, or part of it, is needed to be working. The drugs that can be used are: anetoltrithione, pilocarpine and cevimiline. All of them are reserved for specific cases, since they have adverse effects that are sometimes more complicated than xerostomia.
- Salivary substitutes or artificial saliva: used in severe and prolonged cases. They are intended to keep the mouth moisturized and protected from irritation.
As has already been mentioned, consultation with the professional is essential to achieve a proper diagnosis and effective treatment in order to be able to return to an optimal state of health.
Thick saliva: natural remedies
Whatever the cause of xerostomia, it is essential to put the following tips into practice:
- The regular contribution of water, fruits and vegetables (especially raw) to the diet, since in this way its potential self-healing is returned to the body.
- More frequent food intake may be suggested, as well as the intake of hard candy (without sugar) to try to increase saliva production.
- Likewise, it is key to avoid the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and sweets.
- Dental hygiene is recommended after each meal and you visit the dentist more frequently.
Among the medicinal plants that can help in case of thick saliva, we find:
- Chamomile : it is an excellent anti-inflammatory and healing of the mucous membranes, it helps to reduce anxiety due to its sedative effects.
- Ginger: it is also anti-inflammatory, both by contact in the mouth and at the general body level. Its strong flavor helps increase saliva production.
- Aloe vera: it is a regenerator by nature. It is used to improve oral lesions, increase hydration and decrease gastroesophageal reflux.
- Honey: it is a known antiseptic and regenerator, in addition, it can stimulate the production of saliva due to its delicious taste. It is important to brush your teeth after consuming it because of the sugar it contains or to use it in combination with antimicrobial herbs, such as sage.
- Salvia : important antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and healing. It also helps lower blood glucose (useful in diabetes) and improve the hot flashes of menopause.
- Citrus: stimulate salivary production. They should be consumed in infusion with other herbs in case the mucosa is injured, as it can cause pain on contact with it.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Thick Saliva: Causes and Treatments , we recommend that you enter our Teeth and Mouth category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.