Slimy Saliva
November 8, 2007 10:55 PM   Subscribe

What is making my saliva congeal? Crest ProHealth + Act mouthwash = slime within 15 minutes.

Gross! -- I can pull out strands of slime that are 2in long. It happens only after brushing my teeth. Is it a pH imbalance? Some other chemical reaction? Something that I'm eating reacting with them?
posted by FuManchu to Health & Fitness (19 answers total)
I'm going to go with it being a bad batch of mouthwash or toothpaste that doesn't have enough of its intended surfactant, so you're getting an unmixed-oil-and-water situation happening. Toss 'em.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:07 PM on November 8, 2007

That's one of the things that an astringent does.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:08 PM on November 8, 2007

A surprising number of people are allergic to certain toothpaste ingredients. Normally the symptom is mouth ulcers, but it could be something to look into.
posted by Rumple at 11:18 PM on November 8, 2007

I get the exact same thing with Crest ProHealth and the blue version of listerine, so I don't think it's a bad batch but some actual reaction between the two.
posted by andoatnp at 11:57 PM on November 8, 2007

There's an interesting post full of comments here about this. The poster calls them mouth boogers. Heh. A number of people there complain specifically about the same toothpaste that you use.

I scrolled down and read about what I think is the most likely culprit: whitening chemicals like peroxide and others. As Steve says, these chemicals act as astringents and can accelerate dead skin cell shedding in the mouth. And allergies to those chemicals can just make that worse.

I say switch toothpastes and say goodbye to mouth boogers.
posted by empyrean at 11:59 PM on November 8, 2007

I used Crest ProHealth for a few months, and at my next dentist's appointment, my hygienist asked what-in-the-sam-hell kind of toothpaste I was using, because she could see that it was burning my gums and the insides of my cheeks.

My dentist, who is extremely good at his work and is also something of a hippie, recommends Tom's of Maine toothpaste in the antiplaque variety, so I switched over and haven't had trouble with irritated gums since then. I happen to love the fennel-flavored toothpaste, so that was reason enough for me to switch. But apparently Crest ProHealth really causes problems for some people. (And I didn't know it was actually causing me problems until the dental hygienist said so, either.)

Might want to stop using that stuff, if it seems to be doing weird things to you anyway.
posted by adiabat at 12:08 AM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

There was an interesting thread about another crest pro health product a while back.
posted by 517 at 12:15 AM on November 9, 2007

Weird. I've been using Pro Health toothpaste for about a month now, and never noticed the slime, but I'm sure now that I've read this I will.

I will also be going to buy some new toothpaste tomorrow!
posted by loiseau at 1:14 AM on November 9, 2007

Maybe I'm off the mark, but try rinsing very well and spitting twice after brushing, then swishing and swallowing a couple or three good gulps of clean water afterward. You night also try using warm water. Is this too much info?

Also, the Crest ProHealth toothpaste followed immediately by the Act mouthwash seems a bit overkill. Do you need them both? One or the other at a time should suffice. Your breath should be plenty minty and your teeth sufficiently maintained after a decent brushing even if Madison Ave. would have you believe otherwise.
posted by wsg at 2:07 AM on November 9, 2007

Do you sleep with your mouth open and/or snore, and you wake up with a dry mouth? It's the residual dead skin-cells and dried saliva. Try gently brushing the roof of your mouth, inside your cheeks and gently around the gums before rinsing. Ditto everyone else about overkill with the mouthwash.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:21 AM on November 9, 2007

I must say that I'm rather let down. I just brushed my teeth with Crest ProHealth and rinsed with my (long forgotten) ACT, and I have no mouth slime, much less, mouth boogers to speak of. Thanks for what will possibly be the greatest dissappointment of my morning.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:45 AM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Everybody I know who has used the ProHealth line of products has had the long-stringy-ropes-of-goo phenomenon. I got it most with the regular mouthwash, I don't get it with the toothpaste or the nighttime rinse.
posted by TomMelee at 4:52 AM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Does this happen on the morning or at night? In the morning your saliva will be extra viscous because you are a little dehydrated after sleeping all night without any fluid intake, and it is even more viscous if you sleep with your mouth open. The oral hygiene will then stimulate the production of this extra-thick saliva with results as you describe.
posted by TedW at 5:26 AM on November 9, 2007

I have the exact same reaction to Crest ProHealth toothpaste. I thought it was just something weird with my mouth!

*adds slime-free toothpaste to shopping list*
posted by zach braff's mixtape at 7:31 AM on November 9, 2007

There was a recent thread on toothpaste and mouth slime.
posted by solotoro at 8:30 AM on November 9, 2007

Do you have this all the time or just after using these products?

If your blood sugar level is high you get those MumRa mouth strands that sound like what you are talking about.

But I sincerely hope that is not the cause.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:58 AM on November 9, 2007

I have a feeling you are running afoul of (sorry) some relatively recently introduced plaque inhibiting oligosaccharides in your toothpaste. Jellies and jams (and phlegm) get their consistency from gelled polysaccharides (more individual sugars than oligo-, but otherwise very similar).

If you've done any home canning, you may recall that a solution containing calcium ions is recommended for the best jelling results, and since the primary mineral content of your teeth is calcium apatite, it would seem to me to make sense to include calcium ions in mouthwash in order to help prevent demineralization of your teeth and consequent vulnerability to decay. But when the calcium ions of your mouthwash meet the oligosaccharides of your toothpaste, the result could be saliva jelly.

It's very interesting to read adiabat's account of burning in the mouth from this toothpaste. The patent cited in my link refers to the use oligosaccharides derived from a decay-producing strain of streptococcus in toothpaste. These oligosaccharides occur in the glycocalyx of the bacteria (think of a giant sugar frightwig surrounding the individual bacterium), I imagine, and it sound like they are provoking an immune reaction in adiabat which is attacking gums presumably coated with the oligosaccharides.
posted by jamjam at 10:36 AM on November 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

If you are properly rinsing after brushing or using mouthwash, there should be nothing left behind of the paste at all. Swallowing toothpaste and/or mouthwash is not good for you. Also, contrary to toothpaste ads, you don't need to put toothpaste along the full length of the brush. A pellet sized dab of toothpaste is all you need.
posted by JJ86 at 11:27 AM on November 9, 2007

To clarify a few points: I'd say that the boogers are more like a gel than a slime. The mucous/slime links maybe sounds like drinking too much milk or soda. The mouth boogers I get are more like those removable glues that come in packaging and mailings. I haven't had any other burning or bad sensations.

TedW -- you're right, it's much more pronounced in the mornings, but I can feel a similar effect at night.

Cat Pie Hurts -- Keep trying! And dehydrate yourself before sleeping, and maybe the mouth-booger fairy will visit you in the morning.

I propose that everyone with this experience should write to Crest to add "mouth boogers" to their FAQ.
posted by FuManchu at 11:49 AM on November 9, 2007

« Older Horsemen of the apocalypse paintings?   |   Help perfume me! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.