Salivary Glands


Like all of you, swallowing is a major problem for me.  With little-to-no saliva, trying to eat breads or crackers or meat is almost impossible because the salivary enzymes that start the digestion process are missing.  Biotene products, and the like, don't work on this part of the eating dilemma, they last to hydrate the mouth for about 5 minutes and that's it.  The enzymes that our saliva produce are lingual lipase, salivary amylase (ptyalin) and salivary kallikrein.  Does anyone know of a replacement or substitute for these vital components?

I would give anything to be able to enjoy bbq chicken or Black Forest ham or even a burger!  Just to be able to grab a sandwich for my lunch with frineds or have french toast for breakfast or even peanut butter and crackers for a snack would launch me into a happy dance!  Abd forget about how happy my wife would be because her life would be simpliefied again (she is going crazy with this problem).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,  Life is no longer simple.

Thank you for your help


  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    almost 4 years post


    I am in the same saliva camp as you, but I can enjoy all the food you mentioned with enough to drink. To be safe, I have to take a drink with virtually every bite. Even now, I on occasion get bold and think I can take two or three bites, but I can’t. At least not safely.

    Keep eating, keep drinking, keep swallowing.


  • Fire34
    Fire34 Member Posts: 365
    Same as Matt

    It has been six years here, have water will travel is my motto. I dont go anywhere wthout my bottleWink It will get better ? My saliva has come back but I still have to have water all the time. winter time here in Illinois is the worst with all the dry air. Your taste will be different etc. but eventually things will come around


  • yensid683
    yensid683 Member Posts: 349
    Been there - done that

    I'm in the same boat, now almost 4 years since diagnosis (stage IVa, BOT, induction chemo, rads and all the fun) and have adapted to what many on this site call the 'new normal'

    I generate about 75% of normal when it comes to saliva, and can eat amost anything except items that are somewhat sour in their flavors. 

    I learned (over a lot of time) how to use sips of water to augment the deficient saliva and it works, though it is a pain in the *** at times to have to worry about having water with you before you can eat something.  I look longingly at people who think nothing of grabbing a hand full of snacks like pretzels or popcorn and think nothing of it.  I can do regular, oil fried chips fairly well, but the rest, including my former favorite Pringles, just aren't the same.

    You're right, the Biotene products don't make much of a difference.  I have a challenge at night and nothing, even the Xylemelts that a lot of our members recommend had any effect.

    You can enjoy just about anything, experiment and find that moisture balance.