What Causes Drooling While Sleeping?

Drooling is when your saliva drains outside of your mouth. Drooling is very common with infants and toddlers when they are asleep or awake. Drooling for toddlers is often a sign of teething. In adults, drooling while sleeping is caused by difficulty swallowing. This can happen when you are sick or if your throat is constrained in some way. Drooling while sleeping is caused by an over-production of saliva. People who drool in their sleep are at risk for impairing the body’s normal reflexes like coughing or gagging.

In some cases, drooling while sleeping is a sign of a neurological disease or other serious illnesses. For people with neurological disorders which cause drooling, their symptoms can often be managed or lessened with treatments. When drooling is a sign of a more serious illness it’s usually accompanied by a fever or trouble swallowing. These symptoms are common for people who have mononucleosis, strep throat and tonsillitis. Some medications may also cause drooling.

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Definition

Drooling is saliva flowing outside the mouth.


Alternative Names

Salivation


Considerations

Drooling is generally caused by:

  • Problems keeping saliva in the mouth
  • Problems with swallowing
  • Too much saliva production

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).

Drooling caused by nervous system (neurologic) problems can often be...

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