You may not think of it, but saliva is more than just a moistening agent for your oral cavity; consider it a key player in our digestion process. However, sometimes, you may lose its natural consistency, and your saliva may appear thick. But why does that happen? Let’s find out.
What Does it Mean To Have a Thick Saliva?
Saliva is that watery substance in your mouth, a product of your salivary glands serving to protect your inner mouth. Its job is to keep your oral cavity moist, help break down food, and even fight off bacteria. However, when your saliva becomes unusually thick, it can lead to some discomfort.
Thick saliva may occur for various reasons, such as health conditions, environmental factors, or medications. When it lacks consistency, your mouth is at a higher risk of dental issues like gum disease and tooth decay.
Common Causes of Thick Saliva
Here are some common reasons behind this issue:
- Radiation Therapy: If you have recently had radiation therapy around your neck or head area, it may also have irritated your salivary glands to slow down saliva production, making it thicker.
- Dehydration: When your body loses more fluids than it takes in, your saliva thickens.
- Postnasal Drip: Excessive mucus production leads to mouth breathing, causing your mouth to dry out.
- Medication Side Effects: Several prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause thick saliva as a side effect.
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy are one of the culprits of this issue.
Treating Thick Saliva
Fortunately, there are ways to tackle thick saliva. The treatment depends on the underlying cause, and it is essential to talk to your doctor for guidance. Here are some general tips that can be of help:
- Research About Your Current Medications: There are a few medications that can make your saliva thick. The situation is temporary and can be easily reversed. Discuss alternative options.
- Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly.
- Dietary Adjustments: Steer clear of foods and drinks that have the potential to worsen your condition, such as tobacco, caffeine, and spicy foods.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
- Humidify Your Bedroom: a humidifier can help change the environment of your bedroom.
Chewing and Sucking: Chewing gum, sugarless hard candies, can stimulate salivary gland function.
When to Seek Medical Attention?
Here are some common warning signs:
- Infection: Experiencing an unusual taste in the mouth along with high fever, intense pain, or jaw lock may indicate a salivary gland infection.
- Postnasal Drip: If thick saliva accompanied by fever, wheezing, discolored mucus, or a strong odor, it is a cry for help.
- Dehydration: Symptoms like excessive thirst, heavy fast breathing, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, sunken eyes, etc., indicate dehydration.
All in all, while thick saliva is an uncomfortable situation, understanding its causes and treatments can help you manage the issue effectively. Our team at Aqeeq Internal Medicine is only a call away to aid you with medical assistance. Talk to us by dialing (832) 786-8195. Or, you can also drop by our office at 16125 Cairnway Dr. Ste 114 Houston, TX 77084, right next to the Chiropractic Clinic.