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over secretion saliva

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2009


I am from india aged 32 and diagnosed with SCC in december08 and underwent surgery and also had 27 fractions of radiation. my problem is over secretion of saliva. i had developed oral thrush from the last two weeks and gettig treated for it.
I am facing a problem of over secrition of saliva and was told that by my r/t doc that it will subdue in a week or so.

my questions:
i have read that there will be dry mouth conditions for RT patients ... did anyone face similar problem like mine of over secretion of saliva.

will oral thrush effect the secertion of saliva.can anyone suggest any medicine or remedy to keep my mouth dry.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Congratulations on your survivorship! And welcome!

To your first question, regarding over-secretion of saliva. I am not sure if this is the same thing as mucous build-up, but I suspect they are related, if not the same. Eventually, in my personal history and in the history of people whose stories I have read here and elsewhere, it WILL subside. In the meantime, the best you can do, as far as I have been able to gather, is it to focus on dental hygiene and hydration.

Frankly, if you had radiation on your head and neck, you are lucky to HAVE salivation. That said, it does tend to go out of whack. In my case, for weeks I would wake up every two hours with stuff that I HAD to get rid of, else, it felt like, I would not be able to breathe. It is to be expected.

If they are available to you, I would advise toothpaste and mouthwash that are designed to eliminate or at least reduce dry mouth. Dry mouth, also natural, tends to draw out your saliva, to over-activate it, as it were, or so it seems. In any event, at this point, just after surgery, and really, from now on, manic oral hygiene is essential!

In the meantime, the best way to deal with the extra 'saliva' is to have a bottle of water with you at all times, and when the phlegm/saliva gets to be too much, simply go to the nearest bathroom, gargle, and spit it all out. Not high-tech, I know, but it works.

As for the dry mouth, we have already broached that subject, and yes, it is almost bound to be involved early on. Some people carry water bottles for a long time. I no longer do, no longer need to, but I carried one every where I went for the first year after surgery. This, too, shall pass.

In the meantime, again, use a toothpaste and a mouthwash that are designed to help with this. Carry an anti-dry-mouth mouth sprayer with you. Some doctors advise sucking on lemon drops but they did more harm than good for me at the time. So I adopted Tic-Tacs as my anti-dry mouth agent. Some suggest that this product is a sugary one, and so they advise others. I only know what worked for me.

Finally, to your last question, you do not want to keep your mouth dry. You want to keep it healthy. Thrush, as I understand it, is a yeast infection. So, you will want to eat and drink things, if you can, that combat that yeast. Others will probably have better ideas. What I know is that yogurt is great for your digestive system and that hydration is a great first tool against thrush.

Best wishes to you.

Take care,


Posts: 30
Joined: Jan 2009

I cannot add much more than Joe did. He is smart and very helpful to people on this site. The secretions will start to subside in time. I still 8 months after radiation have to spit it out at night occassionally but it is much less than before and I can sleep without feeling like I can't breathe. I also chew gum to keep my mouth moist and keep water handy. There was a time when both water and anything else I put in my mouth would burn. I was given a medication called Nystatin 100000U/ML for oral Thrush 3 times a day along with oral Penicillin since I developed an infection in my throat also. For good oral hygine do keep your mouth moist. If the secretions are mucus it is not advised to swallow it but rather spit it out. Ask your doctor. I have used the Biotene mouthwash,Biotene toothpaste,Biotene gum, and Biotene mouth spray. I really can't say that it works for me, though some say it works great for them. For a while, oral hygiene was a challange because anything I put in my mouth would burn or make me gag and throw up. I barely remember any of that now, but I feel it is important to let people know of things that could happen or at least that I experienced and to know that it is temporary and goes away. Patience my friend and continue to seek answers from your doctors and those who have gone through or are going through what you are. After following him on this site I can also tell you to listen to Joe. He has a great heart and is reaching out to arm people with valuable experience.

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