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What Causes Too Much Saliva?

By Paul Woods
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Salivary and mucous glands in the human mouth produce a clear liquid called saliva, which provides moisture for the inside of the mouth and aids in digestion. A variety of circumstances can cause these glands to produce too much saliva in some people. This condition can be related to taking certain medicines, having specific medical conditions or as a result of ingesting certain poisons.

The average person produces up to 2 quarts (1.9 liters) of saliva a day. Saliva is about 98 percent water, and it is typically swallowed continually as produced as an involuntary reaction. Too much saliva can be the result of the glands that produce it becoming over active or from an individual swallowing less.

Reduced swallowing can be caused by a number of factors. Medical conditions that typically accompany reduced swallowing include sinusitis, either temporary or chronic; some allergies; and enlargement of the adenoids. Anything that causes sensitivity in the tongue or mouth also can cause an individual to swallow less often and sense that they have too much saliva. Several chronic medical conditions have reduced swallowing as a symptom as well including strokes, multiple sclerosis, autism and Down syndrome.

A variety of conditions — some occurring naturally, others involving a precipitating event outside the body — can cause the salivary glands to produce too much saliva. Naturally occurring causes include any of a number of mouth infections, teething and Bell’s palsy. A condition known as GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease, can cause the esophagus to become inflamed producing discomfort and saliva in excess.

Regarding conditions that require some precipitating event, pregnant women often produce saliva in excess. Sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis can result in too much saliva. Rabies can be a cause as well, producing the apparent foaming at the mouth that many associate with it. A disease such as tuberculosis can be a cause. Non-medical conditions such as ingesting arsenic or mercury or having new or ill-fitting dentures can result in the body producing too much saliva, too.

Excess saliva is often a temporary condition. A doctor’s help should be sought in obvious cases such as suspected poisoning, rabies or other undiagnosed diseases. If a doctor’s visit appears warranted, experts recommend, if possible, that the patient try to determine if the excess is being produced by the glands or a result of reduced swallowing.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1003678 — On Aug 12, 2020

The issue of my excessive saliva started after I went to hospital to clean my teeth and ever since then I noticed that there's excess saliva coming out from my mouth whenever I speak and it has also affected my social life with people. What should I do to ensure that the problem will be solved?

By anon999429 — On Jan 04, 2018

I have the problem of producing way to much saliva.This is very annoying at night keeping me awake until late in the evening.I am really getting tired of the whole thing. Someone has the answer.

By anon994080 — On Jan 12, 2016

I get too much saliva only when I drink Gatorade or some sweet drink. I also have this problem when I talk too much. I think this has a lot to do with my nervous system and possibly a mix of chemicals.

By anon955678 — On Jun 09, 2014

I've noticed that when this starts happening, my tongue is in an arch like position in my mouth. I have successfully stop producing some saliva by laying my tongue flat in my mouth. But, I am still in the habit of arching my mouth for no reason.

By anon947430 — On Apr 25, 2014

I had a similar problem and ended up visiting my GP. He diagnosed thrush in the mouth and prescribed Nyastatin and that proved to be very good.

While I was using this medication, I decided to stop using my mouthwash as I thought it might have a detrimental effect on the medicine. About three days ago I started to use my mouthwash again (Dentyl) and my symptoms are back. I have now taken some Piriton and this has eased the symptoms. I have now come to the conclusion that my problem has been caused my sensitivity to the mouthwash.

By zoomerdoom — On Apr 24, 2014

@anon351957: I have a similar problem as you do, but not as severe. I think I know how to solve your saliva problem. You said that whenever you think about saliva, it only gets worse. Similar things happen to me.

So, I say you should constantly swallow whenever you are worried about creating saliva. Swallow nothing but air. Eventually, as you gain confidence, you won't need to swallow saliva or air anymore. I really hope you are here to see this. I don't know how old your posts are, but by the looks of it, you have been checking on this article for a while.

Good luck for everyone who reads this!

By anon947209 — On Apr 24, 2014

Hey anon. I started having similar saliva problems as when I was on my computer. Not as bad as yours of course. My dad was on the other computer. It was quiet. And for some reason he started swallowing his saliva. At first, I didn't really mind. Then, for the next few days, he started doing again and again. Then, I started doing it. It's like its contagious. At school, the same thing happened to this girl I was sitting at. I was just sitting next to her during class. Then she started swallowing her own saliva. I didn't start doing it, she did it on her own. Eventually, I started swallowing my saliva whenever I'm around her. It only happens when I am around dad or the person at my school. Its gotten a little worse now because whenever I am by myself, it happens still.

By anon937319 — On Mar 05, 2014

I have had too much saliva for only a couple of weeks. Also, the middle of my tongue twitches a few times a day and it is followed by more saliva production. Additionally, my throat is only a tiny bit sore. Swallowing saliva causes slight nausea.

Two things have happened recently that are unusual and may have caused this. I had gastric reflux from a couple of large late meals and the acid may have been hard on the throat. Second, the yard planters may have more mold after a lot of recent rain and the patio doors are kept open often; the mold irritates mucus membranes in the nose and throat.

It seems more saliva than usual is being produced and I am probably not swallowing as much as I need to. My plan is obviously not to eat late large meals and to keep trying to dust (with a micro-fiber cloth or Endust sprayed on a cloth) and vacuum (with a hepa filter on the vac) to get rid of the mold spores already in the house, use an electrostatic Filtrete filter on the forced air heater, keep airing out the house well past the point when, hopefully, the yard planters are dry and not over-producing mold.

Since the gastric reflux and mold issues are the only new things that have happened, I am hoping these may be the cause of the saliva. I hope this information can help others. Good luck and be well.

By anon351957 — On Oct 18, 2013

How do you know its too much saliva? Because when your mouth is filling up constantly, you cannot speak right and it's ruining your life, then you know. if not, move on because you don't have this problem, evidently.

By anon346350 — On Aug 27, 2013

I am going to pray that God heals all of us. I hope you all do too. The mind and body has an incredible ability to heal. It doesn't always work. But dear God, please heal all of us of this problem. We all want to be healed. With all of my heart Lord, please heal us, and let us be free from this. Let us seek and find healing. Let us be able to focus on the things in life that you have given us as our gifts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness, and goodness. Please Lord. Make us all free from these strange troubles of our bodies. Make us happy. Give us peace. We want answers, and even better, healing even in the absence of answers. Amen.

By anon345192 — On Aug 16, 2013

I've been dealing with excessive saliva for five years now. It all started suddenly when I became aware of my saliva. It has ruined my social life completely.

By anon344731 — On Aug 12, 2013

I'm 13 years old. and for two months, I've been swallowing saliva. I don't know why I'm always swallowing, but it's making me feel so awkward and sad.

I don't know how to stop swallowing saliva. People says it will be okay. Well, I'm always thinking about swallowing saliva. I just can't stop thinking about it. Every 30 seconds I'm swallowing. How can I stop it?

By anon340634 — On Jul 04, 2013

I can explain my details of my experience suffering from this.

I am currently still studying in my college, and two years from graduation.

I could say that this excess saliva will happen from time to time for me. It doesn't happen every day, but maybe once for two weeks. I am not, sure but I realize that it is often accompanied by a feeling of anxiety, but I am not sure whether it's the reason or the cause of it. I am feeling much less anxiety, but the hypersaliva still persists. Also, it seems to me that every time I experience this, I tend to think it's something that I ate wrong that is causing this, because I felt like vomiting when I tried to swallow my saliva.

I did consider that it was my imagination. It actually does happen as a imagination for me in my usual daily life since I am in that condition and have been suffering this for years. However, with a little intake of food like sweets or anything would solve my imagination problem easily.

Now I am suffering from this excessive saliva that even a little food doesn't help. I still want to spit saliva even if I keep my mind off it by playing games. I am not sure whether I am producing too much saliva or can't swallow it, but I am sure that when I try to swallow my saliva, I will feel like vomiting so spitting it out is my sole solution. Don't get me wrong, I have no difficulty in swallowing food.

I read many articles that indicated for a young man like me, it could only had been GERD or stress. GERD is often accompanied with heartburn, which I don't have. Stress might be the reason as I was thinking very deeply a few hours ago about death.

For people who have similar experiences like this, I don't mind talking about it and finding a solution together.

By anon339085 — On Jun 20, 2013

My mum is about 75 years old and I don't know what is wrong with her mouth. She has too much saliva running out of her mouth. I need help.

By anon336608 — On May 30, 2013

Since my school days, I just keep thinking of my mouth and how saliva accumulates in my mouth and smells bad and I can't change my focus away from my mouth. I am searching for the answer.

By anon331091 — On Apr 20, 2013

I have had problems with constant overproduction of saliva for more than two years now. I have been tested and/or treated for acid reflux (GERD), syphilis, rabies, candida, mercury poisoning (I had my dentist remove all my amalgam fillings). I have had an endoscopy performed twice, and have been tested for various auto immune conditions. In addition, my throat has been scoped three times by three different ENT specialists. Finally, last month, I had surgery for a blocked nasal cavity that was causing a mild apnea which has opened up my nasal passage for better breathing while sleeping.

But unfortunately, no doctor has been able to pinpoint the underlying cause of the excessive saliva, and it puzzles me that no one can diagnose this seemingly simple condition.

I cannot speak without guarding my mouth with my hand, because spit comes flying out, and even though I have had a slight sore throat the whole time, I swallow regularly, yet still the saliva instantly floods my mouth.

I also have difficulty breathing and filling my lungs, as if there is some kind of blockage in my windpipe.

I am not sure if there is an area in the medical field that I haven't covered, and it's devastating that all the different treatments haven't led to narrowing down the cause.

All I know is that I am just about to lose my faith in medicine.

By anon330998 — On Apr 20, 2013

I have this funny feeling though, that for some of us, it's more in "our heads" than an actual condition. Think about it: you start worrying about too much saliva so you start making a conscious effort to swallow more and think about it in general. Then, the more saliva you swallow, the more your mouth produces because you keep getting rid of the saliva you had. Repeat, repeat.

I just felt like I had a lot of saliva tonight and decided to look up why it might be happening, and then I stopped thinking about it for a bit and my problem seemed to go away. So my prescription is to stop worrying about it: "NoWorries 24 hour" You've got the power! Don't be sour.

By anon311169 — On Dec 30, 2012

I have started to produce too much saliva in the last six months. I tend to drool at times and sometimes have a difficult time speaking due to so much saliva production. It has caused my lips to chap and become red. I have visited five doctors and no one seems to know the root cause.

By anon306956 — On Dec 02, 2012

I always get a mouthful of saliva when it's really quiet and I have to concentrate, like in school assembly and the quiet parts of a fill in the cinema, so I have to try and swallow quietly as I heard someone I sat next to once comment on it. If I don't swallow, the spit in my throat starts really hurting. It just happens when it's quiet and I really don't understand why.

By julies — On Oct 31, 2012
As long as everything is working as it should, saliva is one of those things that you just don't spend time thinking about. I never thought about how much saliva aids in digestion.

I suffer from GERD and take medication to keep this under control. I have never really noticed a difference in my saliva with this. In fact, the opposite seems to happen, and my mouth seems more dry than it should be. Has anyone else noticed with with GERD?

By sunshined — On Oct 30, 2012
I guess you learn something new every day. This article finally explained to me while I had more saliva than usual every time I was pregnant. Once I had my baby, this went away but I had never really put the two together before.

My excess saliva was nothing like some of the other people have suffered. It was just something that was a bit annoying and a result of so many changes happening in my body.

If I ever had so much saliva that I was foaming at the mouth I don't think I would wait to see a doctor. This would freak me out and I would want to know what was going on. It would also be embarrassing and hard to go anywhere in public.

By SarahSon — On Oct 30, 2012
The times I have had too much saliva is when I am suffering from a bad cold that includes sinus congestion. I find that I want to swallow less because my throat is sore, but then the saliva builds up in my mouth and I have to swallow.

I had no idea that the average person can produce up to 2 quarts of saliva a day. This sounds like a awful lot of saliva to me.

By bagley79 — On Oct 29, 2012
@anon298789 -- I wish I had an answer for you as I have been dealing with something very similar. Until you have a problem with too much saliva, it is something that you wouldn't even think about. I think more people would relate to not having enough saliva, as in having a dry mouth from being dehydrated or taking certain medications.

I can't think of anything different I have done that might cause this and keep hoping it will just go away on its own. So far this hasn't happened, and I think I am about ready to make an appointment with my doctor to find out what is causing this and how I can hopefully treat it.

By anon298789 — On Oct 22, 2012

I also have this problem. But when I am talking it seems to get much worse. In addition, if I don't constantly swallow, it can cause me to start coughing and choke. So, at that point I just quit talking and hope it goes away.

I hate this. I don't have the foaming issue but just have to swallow constantly. It can also be an issue at night when I wake up choking/coughing from too much saliva.

By anon298150 — On Oct 18, 2012

You know it's in excess because it affects your speech and your ability to form/pronounce words. Try talking with a mouth full of liquid -- not an easy task. I swallow constantly, and my mouth is immediately full of saliva again. It might not be as bad if it were thin, but it's thick and often feels foamy.

It's a horrible condition -- more than a nuisance, especially when no one takes such "small things" seriously. I've had the problem for at least 25 years, but I've only had the nerve to mention it to my doctor once. It was brushed off, and I never brought it up again.

By anon277642 — On Jul 01, 2012

It may or may not be HHV-7 overproduction.

By anon250635 — On Feb 26, 2012

@ Anon154326: Has your condition improved since the first day?

By anon245181 — On Feb 04, 2012

@musicshaman: It is a real problem and at the very least, an enormous nuisance. I started having excessive saliva eight years ago. It is an obvious increase in saliva from what I used to have.

I literally can't open my mouth without drooling. So I consciously swallow or spit all day. That is the hard part. Once the production of saliva increases, then it becomes part of your conscious brain (which it shouldn't be). And I can assure you that it was the increase of saliva, then being aware – not being aware, *then* the increase of saliva.

I think it is a virus/bacteria or something that has caused my salivary glands to over produce. That is just my guess.

By anon232246 — On Nov 29, 2011

Has any solution to this problem been discovered yet?

By anon231111 — On Nov 22, 2011

I know I now have excess saliva because I didn't used to! For the last three years I have suffered from this condition. The doctors just blamed smoking, but I stopped and it made no difference.

I used to be so outgoing and now I just avoid talking to people or keep it to a minimum. I can talk away on the phone! My self confidence has vanished. I can't find a solution and it truly is making me very unhappy. Has anyone had any success with having this treated?

By Nightshadow — On Oct 08, 2011

Well my problem, although related to other posts, is also quite different than the other conditions that I've been reading about.

I had just finished drinking about 25 oz of water or so (three large glasses) in the space of a few minutes while discussing politics and history with my father (not that what I was talking about matters) The glass I used had just been taken from the cupboard and when I looked in (I'm OCD about dirty dishes) I noticed no visible residue or pollutants.

Moments after drinking the water, my mouth began to foam uncontrollably. My mouth was full of white thick saliva after 30 seconds or so after just spitting and a practically indescribably disgusting taste was at the back of my mouth along the sides of my tongue. My tongue was also a bit numb, especially where the taste was.

From drinking the water, standing over a sink for a few moments, then searching online for an answer, finding this site and reading every post to about when I started writing this the foam continued, the taste is still there and I am once again very thirsty but rather worried that drinking any more water will cause a repeat of the foaming mouth.

I am in no way making this up and quite honestly I'm concerned about what could possibly have caused such a bizarre reaction in my mouth. I also doubt anyone will reply to this in a short enough time to save me if these are symptoms of some deathly ailment that requires immediate medical attention but regardless anyone with any idea whatsoever of what could have possibly just happened to me, please reply.

Thanks in advance, A.W.

By anon212435 — On Sep 07, 2011

When you talk and saliva flies out you have too much saliva, that's how you know, I suppose. Unless everyone else is spitting all the time.

By anon168778 — On Apr 18, 2011

my husband has had too much spit in his mouth for years. he is constantly swallowing and it keeps him bloated. He is always spitting in a cup when he isn't swallowing. Ho doctors seem to know what to do.

By anon168634 — On Apr 18, 2011

If you would like to get an idea of what too much saliva is like: I went to a concert recently and all of a sudden my mouth started filling with saliva. I didn't happen to have a bottle or cup nearby and this was out of town, so I had no idea where a bathroom or drinking fountain was. I had to make a choice of listening to the music I paid big bucks to listen to or waste 20 minutes tracking down a bathroom to spit.

Within one hour, my mouth was completely filled with saliva to the point where my cheeks were starting to balloon up. You could swallow it, but if you don't swallow it as you go, you are left with a large amount of warm foamy liquid that no one in their right mind would want to drink. When I finally got outside, I spit out a huge mouthful of what must have been about 6-7 fl oz, due to 90 min of non-spitting. That is not fun.

By anon167429 — On Apr 12, 2011

I have been dealing with too much saliva for five years. I swallow so much that the inside of my mouth is always raw. I'm a bit scared to go to the doctor. I went once when it first started and felt really stupid. Any thoughts would be great!

By awls1425 — On Mar 22, 2011

My brother has a similar problem, but i can see that he has a problem because he spits a lot inside of a bottle. Or whatever he has next to him, so i notice that he sometimes fill the bottle with his saliva.

I know it sounds weird, but i think he has a problem, and i am trying to figure it out. Recently, i am watching him more and he spits every two or maximum, three minutes. In less than seven hours he fills the bottle up of saliva, and i can compare with myself, how much saliva i have and it is much less than he spits. I cannot even spit anything, so my conclusion is that he has an excess of saliva problem.

By anon160802 — On Mar 17, 2011

The problem of having too much saliva is real and very exhausting. That is because if you experience such a situation, you become insecure about interacting with others in society!

I am one of the victims going through it in the past three years. I came to realize it when speaking, my mouth is filled with the floods of saliva. It is difficult to manage the condition by either swallowing or spitting.

Then it came to the point of social stigma as a result of too much saliva. That means when you talk with people they tends to cover their mouth with tissues/handkerchief/turning their heads aside! The inevitable decision is to stay quiet.

I would love to see a solution to this condition but it seems to be like a day dream. Fear of making the situation worse together with other side effects keeps me from using drugs.

By anon154326 — On Feb 20, 2011

This is happening me today, and did for the last two days - it accompanies an aching throat. I think my body is trying to aid my throat ache by creating more saliva. I am spitting saliva out into the sink or waste paper basket about a teaspoon every two minutes! Literally!

I would swallow more but that causes my stomach to hurt. Wish this would stop soon.

By anon151680 — On Feb 11, 2011

I've had too much saliva for a year now. I've gone to 10, yes 10, different kinds of doctors. the salivary glands in my throat are all swollen and in the last two months the ducts in my mouth have enlarged to the point that when i stretch my mouth that saliva squirts into my mouth.

I've traveled to the Cleveland clinic but have not found a cause or treatment. my ana's are slightly elevated. I've been tested for sjorgens and had an mri blood test but that is the only result that had a positive response (ana).

By musicshaman — On Jan 16, 2011

OK, this may be a really silly question to ask, but since you always swallow saliva, how can you truly determine what is "too much"? I can't even imagine how people determined the amount of saliva that the average person swallows in a day, much less how the average Joe would realize that he's producing too much saliva.

I would be really curious to know how many cases of "excess" saliva are just in people's imaginations. I know that as soon as I started reading this, I got hyper-aware of all the saliva in my mouth, so I can see how it might be possible to get obsessed with the idea of having too much...but I just can't really see too many people having this as a serious problem.

If anyone reading this does have excess saliva though, I would love to hear from you, just to get more insight into the condition, so message me back if you've got info -- I'm always willing to learn!

By TunaLine — On Jan 14, 2011

Could you tell me what could be the cause of saliva with little pieces of white stuff floating around in it?

I have been having a lot of saliva recently -- I know it sounds silly, but I wake up and my pillow is soaked with drool, and I never do that! -- and it seems like a lot of times there are a bunch of small white bits in my saliva if I spit it out.

I don't have heartburn or anything so I don't think that it's GERD-related, but I'm just getting kind of freaked out about the whole thing.

Does anybody have any idea what's going on with me? Thanks guys...and sorry for the super-personal info!

By rallenwriter — On Jan 11, 2011

How utterly bizarre -- I had no idea that such a problem as too much saliva even existed.

How do you know when you have too much, I wonder? I mean, I'm assuming that people who have this problem don't exactly walk around foaming at the mouth (unless it's caused by rabies, of course), so how do you get the impression that you've got too much?

With absolutely all respect to people who do suffer from having too much saliva, I can only imagine the look on my doctor's face if I came in and told her that I thought I had too much saliva. I think she would tell me that I had been spending too much time trawling the depths of WebMD.

Really cool article though, and very informative. If I ever get an inexplicably large amounts of saliva coming out of my mouth, then I know what to do!

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