Drooling is saliva flowing outside the mouth.
Drooling is generally caused by:
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:
Other conditions that can cause too much saliva are:
Drooling may also be caused by nervous system disorders that make it hard to swallow. Examples are:
Popsicles or other cold objects (such as frozen bagels) maybe 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:
Call your health care provider if:
The doctor will do a physical examination and ask questions about your symptoms and medical history.
Testing depends on the 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:
Drooling caused by nervous system problems can often be managed with drugs that reduce saliva production. Different drops, patches, or pills or liquid medicines may be tried.
If you have severe drooling, the doctor may recommend:
Salivation; Excessive saliva; Too much saliva; Sialorrhea
Lowell MJ. Esophagus, stomach, duodenum. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 87.
Melio FR. Upper respiratory tract infections. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 73.
Vanderhoff BT, Carroll W. Neurology. In: Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 54.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2013, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.