Hypersalivation results from excess saliva production. Some people develop the inability to properly swallow or clear saliva from the mouth and have difficulty in keeping the mouth closed. Other causes include nausea during pregnancy, morning sickness, peritonsillar infection, sinus, throat infection, poisonous spider bites, reptile venom, ingestion of poisonous mushrooms, pain in the mouth, ulcers, and inflammation in the mouth. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to hypersalivation. In certain cases, severe infections such as tuberculosis and rabies also cause excess saliva in the mouth. Jaw fracture, dislocation of the jaw, and severe sudden pain are other common causes of hypersalivation. Regurgitation of saliva during heartburn can also lead to excess production of saliva.
In some cases, difficulty in clearing saliva from the mouth or swallowing can be a symptom of another serious health complication. This includes the risk of Parkinson’s disease, stroke, ALS, autism, or Down syndrome. Health conditions such as cerebral palsy, which results in bad neuromuscular control of muscles around and in the mouth, can also cause hypersalivation. All these conditions result in a poor lip and head control, impaired tactile sensation, poor tongue mobility, nasal blockage, poor teeth alignment, and a constantly open mouth, which makes it difficult to keep saliva in the mouth.
Non-medical reasons such as chewing gum for a long time or excitement and anxiety can also bring about hypersalivation.
Read on to know about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of hypersalivation.
A person with hypersalivation will start drooling. They have to constantly swallow the excess saliva, or they may feel the need to spit frequently. Other symptoms include chapped lips, dehydration, bad breath, speech disturbance, and poor sense of taste. There can be an infection of the skin around the mouth. Moreover, the skin around the mouth may become too soft or damaged. In extreme cases, hypersalivation may also cause pneumonia. In some cases, a person may experience psychological complications such as social anxiety.
The goal of any diagnosis for hypersalivation is to determine the cause. This is important as hypersalivation can be a symptom of a serious health complication. For effective diagnosis of this condition, doctors usually recommend an examination of the teeth, mouth, and the surrounding skin. There are tests to check the swallowing ability, jaw stability, and tongue control. The nasal airways and tonsils are also checked. A person’s head posture, hydration levels, and appetite are also examined. Other factors checked during diagnosis include the existing medical conditions, ongoing medications, the quantity of excess saliva produced, whether the problem is intermittent or constant, and when and how hypersalivation occurs. While diagnosing, a doctor will also consider the age and mental health of the person, the severity of the condition, the complications arising from the condition, and the associated neurological conditions. It is also important to determine whether the condition is temporary or chronic and whether there’s a possibility for improvement.
There are three ways to treat hypersalivation: therapy, medications, and home remedies. Home remedies can be used along with therapy and medications. However, the use of only home treatment is never effective. Medications are prescribed to reduce the production of saliva. Doctors usually prescribe anticholinergic medications. However, such medications often come with multiple side effects such as constipation, a blurred vision and dry mouth, urination problems, irritability, hyperactivity, restlessness, and drowsiness. Beta blockers are also prescribed sometimes.
Therapy to treat hypersalivation includes speech therapy and behavioral modification. Therapies that help in better head control and posture are also useful. Techniques can be learned for swallowing, lip closure, and better tongue control. Along with this, brushing teeth daily, the use of mouthwash, and drinking plenty of water can also help in alleviating the symptoms of hypersalivation.