Sialorrhea (Excessive Drooling)

What is Sialorrhea (Excessive Drooling)?

Sialorrhea, or excessive drooling, is a condition where saliva pools in the mouth due to insufficient swallowing. It is a common condition that can have a variety of causes and can range from mild and occasional to frequent and severe. Excessive drooling can have a significant psychological impact, as it can cause embarrassment and social anxiety. It can also lead to a range of other issues, including difficulty speaking, skin irritation, and oral infections.

Causes of Excessive Drooling

Excessive drooling can be caused by a range of medical conditions, including:

  • Developmental or neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy and Down syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions
  • Hearing and visual impairment
  • Prescription medications, such as those used for psychiatric disorders and anticholinergics
  • Alcohol intoxication and drug use
  • Allergies
  • Irritation or inflammation in the mouth, throat, or esophagus

Treatment of Excessive Drooling

The treatment of sialorrhea should be determined by a healthcare professional based on a variety of individual factors. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes, medications, physical therapies, and, in some cases, surgery. Common treatments include:

  • Behavioral interventions such as changing eating habits and talking techniques, and physical therapies such as Chewing Exercises
  • Medications, such as anticholinergic drugs, which reduce saliva production, and botulinum toxin injections, which reduce spasms in the muscles surrounding the salivary glands.
  • Surgery to permanently separate the nerve that supplies the salivary glands from the brain

In addition, some individuals find that wearing absorbent products, such as bibs and towels, to absorb saliva and limit skin irritation can be helpful.