Drooling : Drooling Is Saliva Flowing Outside The Mouth

Drooling : Drooling Is Saliva Flowing Outside The Mouth

Drooling is generally caused by:


Problems keeping saliva in the mouth

Problems with swallowing

Too much saliva production


Some people with drooling problems are at increased risk of breathing saliva, food, or fluids into the lungs. This may cause harm if there is a problem with the body's normal reflexes (such as gagging and coughing).




Some drooling in infants and toddlers is normal. It may occur with teething. Drooling in infants and young children may get worse with colds and allergies.


Drooling may happen if your body makes too much saliva. Infections can cause this, including:



Peritonsillar abscess

Strep throat

Sinus infections



Other conditions that can cause too much saliva are:




Heartburn or GERD (reflux)

Poisoning (especially by pesticides)

Pregnancy (may be due to pregnancy side effects, such as nausea or reflux)

Reaction to snake or insect venom

Swollen adenoids

Use of certain medicines

Drooling may also be caused by nervous system disorders that make it hard to swallow. Examples are:


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS



Cerebral palsy (CP)

Down syndrome

Multiple sclerosis

Parkinson disease



Home Care


Popsicles or other cold objects (such as frozen bagels) may be helpful for young children who are drooling while teething. Take care to avoid choking when a child uses any of these objects.


For those with chronic drooling:


Caregivers may try reminding the person to keep lips closed and chin up.

Limit sugary foods, because they may increase the amount of saliva.

Watch for skin breakdown around the lips and on the chin.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:


The cause of the drooling has not been diagnosed.


There is concern about gagging or choking.

A child has a fever, difficulty breathing, or holds their head in a strange position.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The provider will do a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms and medical history.


Testing depends on a person's overall health and other symptoms.


A speech therapist can determine if the drooling increases the risk of breathing in food or fluids into the lungs. This is called aspiration. This may include information about:


How to hold your head


Lip and mouth exercises

How to encourage you to swallow more often

Drooling caused by nervous system problems can often be managed with drugs that reduce saliva production. Different drops, patches, pills or liquid medicines may be tried.


If you have severe drooling, the provider may recommend:


Botox shots

Radiation to the salivary glands

Surgery to remove the salivary glands


Alternative Names


Salivation; Excessive saliva; Too much saliva; Sialorrhea

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