Drooling can be embarrassing for children and adults when it occurs, as it is something usually associated with babies. Therefore, most people will avoid talking about it, even if it is becoming a problem. But what are the causes?
Drooling is something everyone does occasionally, particularly when sleeping when swallowing doesn’t occur as frequently. Therea re many possible causes to consider. The best treatment can depend on what the cause of the problem is.
- Treat sinus problems – Stuffy noses cause people to breathe out of their mouth, thus creating more saliva and making it easier for that saliva to escape. Getting this treated may eliminate your problem.
- Botox injections – This may sound extreme, but injecting Botox into the salivary glands using ultrasound imaging will paralyze the muscles in that area, preventing the saliva forming. This is used to treat people with neurological conditions, and the effects last around 6 months before needing to be repeated.
- Medication – This may be recommended by a doctor for patients with neurological conditions and is called scopolamine. It works by intercepting nerve impulses, and is usually a patch placed behind the ear, each one lasting for 72 hours. Glycopyrrolate is another medication used, but the side effects tend to be more extreme.
- Oral appliances – This is a device placed in the mouth to help with tongue positioning and lip closure, which in turn help with swallowing, meaning a person would drool less.
- Surgery – A last resort, usually only used in patients with an underlying neurological condition when other treatments have failed to work. This will involve removal of the salivary glands.
Finally, there are some less common conditions such as cerebral palsy where drooling is more common because the muscles in the mouth and neck are less tight and more floppy, as well as the position of the head being a little more bent forwards in many cases. This makes it easier for the saliva to flow forwards out of the mouth rather than back into the throat and oesophagus (food pipe).