Salivafilter: Why do i keep having to swallow spit?
June 5, 2008 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Salivafilter: Why do i keep having to swallow spit?

This mostly happens when im lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep and when the dentist is doing something with my teeth.
Probably because im distracted in most other situations.

In these two situations i find myself having to gather saliva from under my tongue and swallowing it down. This turns into a vicious circle where i cant stop swallowing. I doubt its a serious medical problem, its just quite a nuiscance at times, and im scared i might do something stupid when i have my wisdom teeth removed next week.
posted by freddymetz to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
This, and you, are perfectly normal. So far as having your wisdom teeth pulled, most dental assistants will help the dentist during the procedure by inserting suction into the corner of your mouth to remove any excess saliva. No need to worry about embarrassing yourself. You will be just fine.
posted by netbros at 8:40 AM on June 5, 2008

I used to have this problem when I was younger. It would seem that merely having the thought of saliva on your mind can produce the saliva itself, and, at the very same time, when you don't want that saliva in your mouth you'll want to do something with it (spit or swallow), but the thought remains, so more saliva is produced, and it keeps going on in such a cycle.

I'm not sure why this happens, or what can cure it. You can always try drinking something that hinders saliva production (like bitter tea), or breathing with your mouth open until it gets dryed out.
posted by tybeet at 8:44 AM on June 5, 2008

Sounds like a bit of 'bad nerves' my dad calls the swallows. To me it's like the 'try not to think of a white elephant' thing where it's best to just dwell on a white elephant. As for the dentist, they have seen it all I reckon, when I go I elicit giggles because I pretty much just spray saliva like a burst fire hydrant.
posted by dawson at 8:47 AM on June 5, 2008

This is your brain preventing you from drooling. I strongly urge you do not interfere with it.
posted by rob paxon at 8:50 AM on June 5, 2008 [4 favorites]

It's like blinking. You're doing it all the time without noticing, but if you start paying attention it gets annoying.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:01 AM on June 5, 2008

This post made me salivate :)
posted by nougat at 9:53 AM on June 5, 2008

Fun fact, the average person secretes 2 liters of saliva every day!
posted by i less than three nsima at 10:00 AM on June 5, 2008

You swallow saliva, breathe, blink, and do a number of other things that are at least partially controlled by the autonomic nervous system all the time but they only really become evident when you think about them. When your mouth is held open for a long time and disrupts your swallowing, or you lose other distractions because you're lying in bed, then you're more apt to consciously control these actions.

You're the same as everyone else.
posted by mikeh at 12:47 PM on June 5, 2008

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