Simply defined, Ptyalism is a condition that causes the overproduction of saliva. Saliva, for the most part, is extremely beneficial. It moistens our mouths to prevent bad breath, helps us speak, digest food, and appreciate how foods taste. Saliva also contains calcium, enzymes, and antibacterial agents to helps us fight off tooth decay and gum disease. But too much of a good thing, especially in the case of Ptyalism, can be bad.
What causes salivary glands to produce too much saliva? Often occurring in pregnant women, usually during the first trimester, the condition has been attributed to several culprits. However, the exact cause still remains a mystery. Hormonal changes can be an obvious cause, along with morning sickness. When nausea hits, most women try to avoid swallowing too much to curb it. Saliva then builds up, keeping the mouth too moist. Additionally, in the cases of frequent vomiting and heart burn, salivary glands tend to produce too much saliva to help coat the throat to prevent irritation.
Though it can be incredibly irritating, Ptyalism is generally harmless. No single remedy or cure exists for the condition, but you can help alleviate the symptoms with a few simple techniques:
- Brush and floss daily: Make sure you brush twice and floss once a day to keep up with a proper oral care routine. This helps remove the acids caused by frequent vomiting and curb plaque buildup, so your saliva doesn’t have to work overtime.
- Rinse with mouthwash: Try using an alcohol-free, moisturizing mouthwash several times a day. It can help remove leftover bacteria and acids.
- Watch your diet: Sticking to a healthy diet may not be easy, especially when you’re craving something during pregnancy, but try to avoid foods with too much starch. Starchy foods like white bread, pasta, and certain grains, require additional saliva for digestion.
- Chew on it: Sugarless gum can make it easier to swallow saliva.
- Try candy: Sucking on sugarless candy can also help diminish the amount of saliva by making it easier to swallow.
If your Ptyalism persists, becomes hard to handle, or significantly affects your daily routine, speak with your dental professional for additional tips on how to curb it.