Drooling, also known as sialorrhea, is the unintentional loss of saliva from the mouth. It is a common problem among infants and young children, but it can also occur in adults. Although it may not be a serious medical condition in most cases, excessive drooling can be embarrassing and uncomfortable sometimes. This blog post will discuss what drooling is and why it happens.
Why does drooling happen?
Drooling occurs when there is an imbalance between saliva production and the ability to swallow. Saliva is produced by the salivary glands, which are located in the mouth and throat. It is a natural lubricant that helps to moisten food, aid in digestion, and protect the teeth and gums.
Normally, saliva is swallowed automatically without conscious effort. However, when there is a problem with the nerves or muscles that control swallowing, saliva can accumulate in the mouth and overflow, leading to drooling.
In infants and young children, drooling is a normal part of development as they learn to control their swallowing reflexes. As they get older, drooling usually decreases and eventually stops altogether. However, some children may continue to drool due to underlying medical or behavioural issues.
In adults, drooling is less common but can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as Parkinson’s disease or a stroke. It can also be a side effect of certain medications or a result of dental problems.
Reasons for drooling
Drooling is a common symptom of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. These conditions can affect the muscles and nerves involved in swallowing and controlling saliva production, leading to excessive drooling.
Certain medications can cause drooling as a side effect. For example, antipsychotic medications, used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can cause excessive drooling. Other medications that can cause drooling include some types of antidepressants and antihistamines.
Drooling can also be caused by dental problems such as poorly fitting dentures or orthodontic appliances. In these cases, the drooling is often due to the excess saliva that is produced as a result of irritation or inflammation in the mouth.
Gastrointestinal issues such as acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can cause drooling. Acid reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach flow back into the oesophagus, causing irritation and excessive saliva production.
Allergies to foods, medications, or environmental triggers can cause drooling. When the body is exposed to an allergen, it produces histamine, which can cause inflammation and excess saliva production.
Infections of the mouth, throat or respiratory system can cause drooling. Conditions can cause inflammation and irritation in the mouth and throat, leading to an increase in saliva production.
A stroke can affect the muscles and nerves involved in swallowing and controlling saliva production, leading to drooling. This is more common in severe strokes and may resolve over time as the person recovers.
In conclusion, drooling can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, medications, and other factors. If you or a loved one is experiencing persistent drooling, it is important to see a healthcare provider to determine the underlying causes and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Furthermore, you should also undergo preventive health checkups. These health checkups give a complete report about your health, allowing you to take necessary precautionary measures to improve your well-being and keep a host of ailments at bay.