Flute Punch

Too Much Saliva

Posted on: January 14, 2010

It seems like a lot of flutists I know go through at least some period of time where excess spit or saliva is problematic. Here are a few things that have helped me deal with this problem.

Toothpaste

Try toothpaste without SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). SLS is a detergent that produces foaming, but as a detergent, it can be drying and irritating. I discovered that my skin does not chap if I avoid handsoaps with SLS, so I thought, “Couldn’t SLS in toothpaste do something similar?” It’s my hypothesis that SLS dries out the mouth and the saliva glands must compensate for this.

Two brands of SLS-free toothpaste that work for me are Tom’s of Maine and Biotene. Don’t be scared by the “dry mouth formula” advertising on the Biotene – it’s still worth trying if you haven’t already.

Hydration

We all know how much water we drink, but I find it’s important to pay close attention to this the couple of days prior to a performance. The day of the performance, try to get most of your water drank earlier in the day (assuming an evening concert) so that you won’t feel like running to the restroom during the 2nd movement of something!

Lip Plate Modifications

While I have never owned a headjoint with an engraved lip plate, the engraving can provide some traction and help reduce slippage. I also have known a couple people who put a postage stamp on their lip plate. Strange perhaps, but if it works, is affordable, and doesn’t ruin the flute or you, it’s always worth a try.

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