What Causes A Person To Drool
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What Causes A Person To Drool
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Why Food Makes Our Mouths Water
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This article was clinically reviewed by Jason R. McKint, MD, MS, a family medicine physician and clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M College of Medicine.
Our stories are reviewed by medical experts to ensure you get the most accurate and useful information about your health and wellness. For more information, visit our medical review board.
You wake up from a deep sleep to find your pillow wet or your cheek sticky with saliva. Disappearing in your sleep can be painful and embarrassing, especially if you’re sleeping next to someone you’re trying to impress or in a semi-public place like an airport terminal.
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Dr. Neil H. Patel, a family medicine physician at Providence St. Joseph Hospital, says that although it can be annoying, “drool is natural and usually not concerning.”
However, some minor medical problems like dry mouth can make you overdo it – and, although rarely, some serious conditions like neurological disease can have the same effect.
When your mouth is dry, salivary glands are activated to lubricate it, says Patel. So, if you are dehydrated or sleep with your mouth open, those glands can overproduce saliva, causing you to pass out in your sleep.
How to deal with it: Stay well hydrated throughout the day. Then, if you wake up thirsty during the night, keep a glass of water by your bed to drink.
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When you’re sick with an upper respiratory infection or seasonal allergies, your body produces more mucus. It can help clear germs or irritation from your nose, throat, and mouth—but it also makes it more likely that you’ll get an infection, says Dr. Thomas Michael Kilkenny, director of the Institute for Sleep Medicine at Staten Island University. Hospital You can fall asleep in your sleep.
Allergies can also cause nasal congestion, which forces you to breathe through your mouth. This can dry it out and stimulate saliva production in your sleep.
How to treat it: Patel says to treat seasonal allergies with over-the-counter antihistamines like Claritin or Zyrtec. If you have an upper respiratory infection, you may need to let the disease run its course. But if it lasts more than a week or two, see your doctor for advice.
Some people with acid reflux experience excessive salivation as a symptom of the condition, Patel says. This can lead to blackouts during sleep, as eating a large dinner and lying in bed can both make heartburn worse.
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How to treat it: Focus on treating acid reflux with home remedies such as increased fiber intake and lifestyle changes, such as eating smaller meals. When your reflux is acting up, over-the-counter antacids can help, but you should talk to your doctor if you need to take them regularly.
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects people’s ability to breathe while they sleep. This can cause irregular breathing patterns to force people to breathe through their mouths and increase their risk of sedation during sleep, Patel says.
Additionally, people with sleep deprivation are more likely to have other conditions, including sleep bruxism, or teeth grinding, which stimulates the salivary glands by grinding, which can also increase the likelihood of inattention.
How to treat it: If you think you have trouble sleeping, or you experience other symptoms such as fatigue or snoring, talk to your doctor. Treatment includes lifestyle changes such as losing weight if you are overweight, and devices to control your breathing, such as a CPAP machine.
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Some medications increase your saliva production. This is known as drug-induced salivation, or hypersalivation, and it can make you more likely to have insomnia at night. These medicines are:
How to treat it: Talk to your doctor if you experience increased sleepiness after starting a new medication. Have an open discussion about the benefits of medication versus the discomfort of nighttime insomnia.
Any condition that affects the nervous system can affect your saliva production, make it difficult to hold your mouth shut at night, or affect your ability to swallow, says Kilkenny.
Because of this, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and stroke can increase the risk of nocturnal delirium. If you have one of these conditions, you may also have other symptoms of a neurological disease, such as headaches, changes in your memory or cognitive ability, or tremors.
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How to treat it: Talk to your doctor about medications that can reduce your saliva production. Working with a neurologist and a speech, physical and occupational therapist can also help, Kilkenny says, although the effects of behavioral interventions are limited when you’re unconscious during sleep.
Sleeping on your stomach or side can make it more likely that gravity will cause saliva to flow out of your mouth while you sleep.
How to deal with it: Consider training yourself to sleep on your back, or focus on sleeping with your mouth closed.
But if you notice sudden changes or your negligence affects the quality of your sleep, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor. In addition to the lifestyle changes mentioned above, there are more aggressive treatments or drooling, including prescription medications to reduce saliva production and help reduce nighttime sedation, Patel says.
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“You know your body better than anyone else, so if you’re concerned or worried, please contact your health care provider immediately,” he says.
Kelly Birches is a freelance journalist based in New Hampshire who writes about finance, health, family and more. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Forbes. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter, and or learn more here.
Healthy deep sleep is when your body removes toxins from your brain – here are 6 ways to get more of it.
Health Why sleeping on your back or side is the best position – and tips for a more restful sleep Hypersalivation, also known as salivation or petealism, is when a person has too much saliva in their mouth. This can lead to negligence. Possible causes range from dental trauma to jaw fractures.
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Depending on the cause, hypersalivation can be either constant or intermittent. It can be temporary or permanent. Often, this can cause a person to have social anxiety.
Hypersalivation is not a disease but is usually a symptom of another underlying condition. These other factors can range from easily treatable and common causes to rare diseases.
Saliva is a clear liquid produced by the salivary glands in the mouth. It moistens the food and helps in swallowing. It also contains enzymes that help in digestion.
Saliva can heal wounds and remove germs from the mouth, as well as prevent dryness and irritation and act as a barrier against toxins.
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On average, a healthy person produces 0.75 to 1.5 liters of saliva per day. Saliva production peaks when a person eats and is lowest during sleep.
Too much saliva can cause chapped lips and skin infections, as well as problems with speaking and eating. Excessive salivation and inattention can also cause social anxiety and low self-esteem.
There are many possible causes of hypersalivation. This can be a complication of tooth wear or poor oral coordination.
Difficulty swallowing or removing saliva from the mouth can be caused by or associated with certain underlying conditions, including Down syndrome, autism, ALS, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. If a person also has a sensory impairment, they may not always realize that they are careless.
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Reasons for failure to keep the mouth closed, which can result in gagging, include poor neural control of the muscles around the mouth. Cerebral palsy is an example of such a condition.
Hypersalivation can also be caused by non-medical conditions, such as seeing, smelling or tasting food, or even just thinking about food. It can also be caused by chewing gum or by feelings of excitement and anxiety.
Excessive salivation and lethargy can also cause psychological complications and social anxiety, as well as affect their ability to eat or speak.
People who experience hypersalivation are more likely to inhale saliva, food, or fluids into their lungs, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia. This can happen when the mouth and cough reflexes are poor.
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The goal of diagnosing hypersalivation is to identify the underlying cause and then prescribe the best available treatment for each individual affected. Diagnosis is important because some possible causes of hypersalivation have serious complications.
Once the cause of hypersalivation is known, the doctor may consider the following factors:
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