The excess saliva that comes out of the mouth is known as drooling. Half of us drool in our sleep. Drooling means when excess saliva comes out of the mouth. It can happen while we are awake or asleep. This is an unhealthy condition that results in waking up messily. Medically, this condition is known as hypersalivation and can be temporary sometimes.
What is Drooling?
Drooling is defined as saliva that flows out of the mouth inadvertently. It is often the result of weak or underdeveloped muscles around the mouth or having too much saliva.
The glands that make your saliva are called salivary glands. At the bottom of your jaw, on your lips, and near your front teeth, you have six of these glands. These glands typically take in 2 to 4 pints of saliva a day. When these glands produce too much saliva, you can experience drooling.
Drooling in the first two years of life is common. Babies rarely develop full control of swallowing and mouth muscles until they are between 18 and 24 months of age. Babies can also drool when their teeth are coming in. Drooling is normal during sleep.
Drooling can occur in people who have other medical conditions or neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy.
Drooling may be a physical disorder that results from it. It can be a side effect of some drugs as well.
Any disease, condition, or medicine that weakens muscles, produces excess saliva, or makes swallowing difficult can cause drooling.
The following are some causes of drooling:
Babies are vulnerable to drooling and, when they are a little older, they do not have complete control over the muscles in their mouth. Drooling also occurs when babies are teething.
Consuming acidic foods, such as alcohol and certain fruits, can stimulate excessive saliva production and cause drooling.
People who have seasonal allergies may feel the development of excess saliva, which may result in drooling. Some other allergy symptoms include:
Some drugs can cause people to release more saliva than normal. Culprits include medications for:
Some neurological conditions can also cause drooling. These include conditions, particularly in the face, that cause Muscle weakness.
Some examples of neurological conditions that can affect a person's ability to swallow or close their mouth include:
Other conditions that cause excessive saliva production or difficulty swallowing can also lead to drooling. Some examples of such conditions include:
- acid reflux
- infections, such as tonsillitis, strep throat, or sinusitis
- anatomical irregularities in the head and neck
- sleep apnea
- pregnancy is another factor that can cause drooling
Complications For Drooling
Drooling can affect the life of an individual medically and psychosocially. This symptom can be embarrassing in social situations and affect self-esteem.
Heavy drooling can lead to cracking, irritation, and breakage of the skin.
If a person cannot swallow, saliva often seeps out as drool. However, in severe cases, it can collect in the throat. This can lead to a lung infection called aspiration pneumonia when inhaled.
Anterior hypersalivation is diagnosed by the family or their caregivers by observing excessive drooling. A history of repeated choking and pneumonia may suggest subsequent hypersalivation. Occasionally, additional tests may be helpful, including swallowing evaluations conducted jointly by speech pathologists and radiologists, in which the child is examined with X-ray images during the act of swallowing.
Sometimes drooling does not require treatment. In babies, for example, people consider drooling to be normal.
Doctors will recommend treatment if the drooling is severe, disrupts daily activities, or embarrasses.
In some cases, heavy drooling can also lead to respiratory infections if the person breathes in excess saliva.
As individuals often rub saliva across their mouths, prolonged drooling may often cause skin inflammation, such as a rash.
Some ways that people can control excess saliva production include:
- suck on hard candy
- chewing gum
- wear a bracelet to discreetly wipe your mouth
Treatment varies depending on the severity of a person's drooling and its cause. Options include the following:
Certain types of therapy can help treat excess drooling.
For example, swallowing therapy can help people with swallowing problems by teaching exercises to strengthen the muscles of the mouth and throat.
Health professionals can also help people learn to eat and drinking techniques that can help limit drooling.
Also, speech therapy can help with the mobility of the tongue and improve the position and closure of the lips during swallowing.
Dental or Oral Devices
Oral devices can help with drooling. These help ensure proper jaw, lip, and tongue position to limit drooling.
However, they are not very comfortable. They are also not suitable for people who have difficulty breathing through their nose or people with seizure disorders.
Health professionals can inject Botox into the salivary glands to reduce saliva production.
This treatment usually has no major side effects. It doesn't always work, but when it does, it can reduce drooling for a few months.
Injections are usually made into the parotid glands through the cheek.
In people whose drooling results from allergies, taking allergy medications can help limit excessive saliva production.
Doctors can also prescribe specific medications to curb saliva to people with neurological conditions.
A doctor will only recommend surgery if the drooling is excessive, causes respiratory infections, and does not respond to other treatment options.
When to visit a Doctor?
Drooling is quite common and is rarely a cause for concern.
However, it may be worth getting medical attention to probably treat this condition if the frequent drooling is constant, serious, delays everyday tasks, or causes humiliation.
Before sleeping at night, drinking a glass of water and chewing on a lemon wedge will help to eliminate drooling.
Make sure you sleep on your back to avoid the accumulation of saliva in your mouth.
Take steam before bed to open a stuffy nose. It will help you breathe through your nose instead of your mouth and will prevent drooling.