Our body is always producing saliva. It is an important fluid that keeps your mouth hydrated, plays a role in your immune system, and helps you to digest food. When everything is working well, you may not think about your saliva. But in some cases, your saliva can cause issues for you. This happens when you start drooling. Drooling is common and is not a major issue when we are sleeping or for young children. Occasional drooling can happen in most adults, but frequent drooling may point to a problem. Drooling can be caused by having too much saliva, an inability to control the mouth and lips, and the inability to swallow well. These symptoms can lead to huge problems in older adults. While drooling in itself is not a problem, it can be the result of other health problems. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and causes of drooling in elderly people.
Symptoms of Drooling
In older people, frequent drooling may be a sign that your muscle control in your mouth and neck is weakening. When you drool, it is due to having more saliva in your mouth. This could be a problem with the throat, the lips, or something else. Other symptoms of drooling include:
Your breathing habits may be the cause of drooling. People who have sleep apnea or snore may find that they drool in their sleep more often than other people. This is because they breathe through their mouth while sleeping.
Nasal congestion may make it hard to breathe through the nose, so you have to breathe through the mouth instead. If this happens, you may drool more since your mouth is open.
Causes of Drooling
There are a few potential causes of drooling. Some people simply sleep in a way such that their mouth stays wide open. Other people may have underlying conditions such as:
- Excess Saliva Production
Some people simply produce excess saliva. Hypersalivation can make it tough for you to swallow saliva as it is produced, leading to drooling.
- Medication Side Effects
Some types of medications can lead to hypersalivation. These medications include those for Alzheimer’s disease or psychiatric disorders. They trigger excess saliva production that can lead to drooling.
Having a stroke can weaken the muscles around the mouth, making it hard to keep your lips closed or swallow when at rest. This causes saliva to leak out of the mouth in older adults.
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