Your body produces anywhere from half a litre to 1.5 litres of saliva each day. This is considered to be a standard, healthy amount (even though it might already seem like a lot of saliva). So why does it seem like your saliva production is increasing? You might have to constantly swallow excess saliva, and large amounts might be escaping in the form of drool (especially when you sleep). It could be that your body is alerting you to a dental problem.
Excessive saliva production (known as hypersalivation) can be a permanent problem for some people. A wide range of medical conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, pancreatitis, Parkinson's disease, and Sjögren syndrome, can result in hypersalivation. Traumatic head injuries and strokes can also lead to a permanent increase in saliva production. Hypersalivation caused by these conditions is generally considered to be permanent, but when saliva production suddenly increases and is unrelated to an existing medical condition, it can indicate an oral infection.
Your Immune System
A sudden increase in saliva production should be investigated by your dentist. Your excess saliva may be your immune system's efforts to flush away any accumulation of bacteria. Your dentist is looking for the cause for this spike in harmful bacteria. There are numerous potential culprits, such as an abscessed tooth, an infection in your gingival tissues, or even an untreated cavity that has triggered an infection in the tooth's nerve.
Return to Normal
Once your dentist has identified the cause of your dental infection, it can be treated. Most temporary instances of hypersalivation will resolve themselves once the underlying infection is successfully managed. Your saliva levels will return to normal as the infection subsides. It is unlikely that you will need to take further steps to reduce your saliva production, although an alcohol-based mouthwash may be beneficial, as this helps to dry out your mouth. Your dentist will recommend any additional measures that may be needed.
Certain oral infections (particularly an abscessed tooth) can be painful, so in many cases, hypersalivation will be accompanied by other symptoms. However, hypersalivation with no other obvious symptoms should not be dismissed as insignificant. It might be the first warning sign, but other symptoms, such as pain and inflammation, are likely to follow before too long. This is why an increase in saliva production needs to be checked out by your dentist as soon as possible.