What Is Drooling?
defined as saliva flowing outside of your mouth unintentionally. It’s often a
result of weak or underdeveloped muscles around your mouth or having too much
that make your saliva are called the salivary glands. You have six of these glands, located on the
bottom of your mouth, in your cheeks, and near your front teeth. These glands
typically make 2 to 4 pints of saliva a day. When these glands make too much
saliva, you may experience drooling.
normal in the first two years of life. Infants don’t often develop full control
of swallowing and the muscles of the mouth until they are between 18 and 24
months old. Babies might also drool when they’re teething. Drooling can occur
in people who have neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy as well.
and Risk Factors for Drooling
be a symptom of a medical condition, developmental delay, or a result of taking
certain medications. Anything that leads to excessive saliva production,
difficulty swallowing, or problems with muscle control may lead to drooling.
begins after birth and peaks between 3 and 6 months as infants become more
active. This is normal, especially when going through the teething process, so
you shouldn’t worry.
in acidic content often cause excessive saliva production.
medical conditions can put you at risk for drooling. If a disease that decreases
control of facial muscles affects you, you are more likely to drool. Neurologic
disorders such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis, or stroke may cause muscle weakness that affects the ability to
close the mouth and swallow saliva.
usually caused by excess saliva in the mouth. Medical conditions such as acid
reflux and pregnancy can increase saliva production. Allergies, tumors, and above-the-neck
infections such as strep throat, tonsil infection, and sinusitis can all impair
How Is Drooling Treated?
always treated. Your doctor usually won’t recommend any treatment for someone
under the age of 4 or who drools during sleep.
be recommended when drooling is severe. Drooling may be considered severe if
saliva drips from your lip to your clothing or your drooling interferes with
your daily activities and creates social problems. Excessive drooling can also
lead to inhaling saliva into the lungs, which can cause pneumonia.
options are looked at on a case-by-case basis, but generally your doctor will
perform an assessment and come up with the management plan that works best for
approach includes trying things such as medication, oral motor therapy, and
pharmacological therapy. In more serious cases, you and your doctor may
consider a more invasive approach, including treatment options such as surgery
occupational therapists help teach positioning and posture control to help
improve lip closure and swallowing. Your therapist will work with you on
improving muscle tone and saliva control. Therapists may also suggest that you
see a dietitian to modify the amount of acidic foods in your diet.
device placed in the mouth helps with lip closure during swallowing. An oral
prosthetic device such as a chin cup or dental appliances may help with lip
closure as well as tongue position and swallowing. This
option works best if you have some swallowing control.
medications help reduce saliva production. Medications include:
- Scopolamine, which comes as a patch and is placed on
your skin to deliver the medication slowly throughout the day. Each patch lasts
for 72 hours.
- Glycopyrrolate, which is given as an injection or in the
form of a pill. Robinul decreases your saliva production but can cause dry
mouth as a result.
- Atropine sulfate, given as drops in the mouth; usually used
for patients during end-of-life care when they are having difficulties with
injections may help reduce symptoms of drooling by tightening facial muscles.
procedures are approved for the treatment of drooling. The most common is a
procedure that reroutes the salivary ducts to the back of the mouth to prevent
drooling outside of the mouth. Another procedure removes your salivary glands
What Is the Outlook for Drooling?
drooling is a normal part of development. But if you notice excessive drooling
or have any other concerns, you should always consult your child’s doctor.
many medical conditions that cause drooling, so you should consult your doctor if
you notice that you’re drooling excessively or uncontrollably. Many problems
can be easily controlled with therapy or medication, but some conditions may
require more serious treatment and highlight a more serious medical condition. Following
a healthy diet and listening to your body can help to alleviate some problems.
For anything serious, your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan.