What causes excessive drooling and how to treat it?

Symptom Database

Excessive drooling, also known as hypersalivation, can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable condition that affects individuals of all ages, including babies, adults, and even our furry friends. While drooling is a natural process that helps to keep our mouths moist and aids in digestion, excessive drooling can be a sign of an underlying issue. In this article, we will explore the causes of excessive drooling and discuss various treatment options to help alleviate this bothersome symptom.

Drooling Causes

There are several factors that can contribute to excessive drooling. Understanding the root cause is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment. Here are some common causes:

Drooling in Babies

Babies are notorious for their adorable drooling, especially during the teething phase. The excessive drooling in infants is often due to the increased production of saliva as their salivary glands develop. This is a normal part of their growth and typically resolves on its own as they grow older.

Drooling in Adults

In adults, excessive drooling can be a result of various factors, including:

  • Oral health issues: Poor oral hygiene, gum disease, or tooth decay can lead to excessive drooling.
  • Medication side effects: Certain medications, such as those used to treat Parkinson’s disease or allergies, can cause increased saliva production.
  • Neurological conditions: Conditions like cerebral palsy, stroke, or Parkinson’s disease can affect the muscles and nerves responsible for swallowing, leading to excessive drooling.
  • Psychological factors: Anxiety or stress can sometimes trigger excessive saliva production and subsequent drooling.

Drooling in Dogs

Our furry companions can also experience excessive drooling, which may be caused by:

  • Dental issues: Dogs with dental problems, such as gum disease or tooth decay, may drool excessively.
  • Heat or nausea: Dogs often drool excessively when they are overheated or feeling nauseous.
  • Foreign objects or toxins: Ingesting foreign objects or toxic substances can cause excessive drooling in dogs.

How to Stop Drooling

Now that we have explored the various causes of excessive drooling, let’s delve into some effective ways to stop drooling:

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

For individuals experiencing excessive drooling due to poor oral health, maintaining good oral hygiene is essential. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay, reducing the likelihood of excessive drooling.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can sometimes trigger excessive saliva production. Ensure you are drinking enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated and maintain a healthy saliva balance.

Manage Stress and Anxiety

If stress or anxiety is contributing to your excessive drooling, finding healthy coping mechanisms can be beneficial. Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, can help reduce saliva production and alleviate drooling.

Seek Medical Advice

If your excessive drooling persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your condition, identify any underlying causes, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Drooling Treatment

Depending on the underlying cause of excessive drooling, various treatment options may be recommended. Here are some common remedies:


In cases where excessive drooling is caused by medication side effects or neurological conditions, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to reduce saliva production.

Oral Devices

Oral devices, such as dental splints or mouthguards, can help improve swallowing and reduce drooling in individuals with certain neurological conditions.


In severe cases, surgical interventions may be considered. For example, individuals with chronic drooling due to neurological conditions may undergo procedures to reroute saliva flow or remove salivary glands.

Drooling in Sleep

Drooling during sleep is a common occurrence for many individuals. While it can be embarrassing, it is usually harmless. However, if excessive drooling during sleep becomes a persistent issue, it may be worth investigating further. Some potential causes of excessive drooling during sleep include:

  • Sleeping position: Certain sleeping positions can cause saliva to pool in the mouth, leading to increased drooling.
  • Nasal congestion: When the nasal passages are congested, individuals may breathe through their mouths while sleeping, resulting in excessive drooling.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: This sleep disorder can cause interrupted breathing during sleep, leading to mouth breathing and subsequent drooling.

If excessive drooling during sleep is causing discomfort or affecting your quality of sleep, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

Drooling Remedies

While excessive drooling can be challenging to manage, there are some remedies that may help alleviate the symptoms:

Use a Humidifier

If nasal congestion is contributing to excessive drooling, using a humidifier in your bedroom can help keep the air moist and reduce congestion, promoting easier breathing through the nose.

Elevate Your Head

Keeping your head slightly elevated while sleeping can help prevent saliva from pooling in your mouth, reducing the likelihood of excessive drooling.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Establishing a consistent sleep routine and creating a comfortable sleep environment can improve the quality of your sleep and potentially reduce excessive drooling during sleep.

In conclusion, excessive drooling can be caused by various factors, ranging from teething in babies to underlying medical conditions in adults and dogs. Understanding the cause is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment. By practicing good oral hygiene, managing stress, seeking medical advice when necessary, and exploring available treatment options, individuals can effectively manage and reduce excessive drooling. Remember, if excessive drooling persists or is accompanied by concerning symptoms, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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