Watery Mouth

Facts about a Watery Mouth

Delicious foods can certainly be mouthwatering, but for certain people, a watery mouth has nothing to do with something they crave.  Instead, it can be an annoying symptom attributed to one of a variety of conditions.


Our mouths are the gateway to the digestive system.  When we put food into our mouths and begin to chew, additional fluid is required to soften and help break down the texture of the food so that it will be prepared to be transferred to the next phase in digestion.  There are three major glands in the mouth that produce this fluid which is called saliva.  The salivary glands are located in different areas in the mouth; the largest are called the parotid glands and are just below and to the front of the ear lobes while the sublingual and submandibular glands are found within the floor of the mouth under the tongue.  To help evenly distribute the flow of saliva, numerous other miniscule glands are located around the perimeter of the mouth.  This fluid is continuously produced throughout the day and night, even when not eating, to keep the interior of the mouth moistened.

Complications of saliva production

Many types of conditions can cause dry mouth, a situation that occurs when too little saliva is produced.  The glands themselves may malfunction due to certain diseases such as Parkinson’s, HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) and Sjogren’s syndrome.  There are also a number of drugs that can decrease the production of saliva, including antihistamines, antidepressants, sedatives and diuretics.

The opposite condition is much more unusual; which is when excess saliva is produced. In most cases, it is merely a temporary condition that occurs when the thought of or the scent of certain foods that an individual finds to be exceptionally desirable is experienced.  In anticipation of the food entering the mouth, the salivary glands begin to produce the fluid needed for mastication, or chewing. A watery mouth can also result in drooling while sleeping; however, this has less to do with saliva production and more to do with less frequent swallowing.

In other cases, however, too much saliva in the mouth can be indicative of a medical condition.  One of the most common causes among women is pregnancy; a surprise for many women as it is less well known as one of the side effects.  Hormones are the likely culprits of the condition that tends to dissipate as the pregnancy progresses.  Other temporary conditions include upper respiratory infections and seasonal allergies.

More serious medical conditions may be at the root of the problem.  Chronic gastritis, hydrophobia and stomatitis are some diseases that exhibit excessive saliva production as a symptom.  Ironically, some of the drugs that are prescribed to treat conditions relating to dry mouth conditions actually can cause watery mouth; these include Sinamet, Levodopa and Dopar.

When the production of saliva suddenly increases, it could indicate poisoning, or an adverse reaction to either snake or insect venom.


How to treat excess saliva production

Temporary cases of increased salivation require no treatment, as they normally come and go when triggers such as food scents or sights occur.  When the excess saliva is not a temporary condition, a medical examination is needed to determine the cause in order to initiate treatment.   When the condition is a symptom of a medical disorder or disease, the first step will be to begin treatment of that specific condition, which should bring the salivation problem to a halt.  If the problem persists, Atropine sulfate may be prescribed.

In most cases, it is the delicious smell of a favorite food that produces a watery mouth, but when the situation goes from temporary to continuous salivation, it is necessary to find out why.