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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What is sialorrhea?

Sialorrhea is drooling or excess saliva that you cannot control. It may be caused by weakness or loss of control of the face, tongue, mouth, or throat muscles that makes it difficult to swallow. It may also be caused by conditions that increase saliva production, such as gastric reflux or the use of certain medicines.

How is sialorrhea managed?

  • Therapy will help you strengthen your face and mouth muscles so you can control your saliva. Therapists will also help you with your posture, and show you how to hold your head to prevent drooling.
  • A portable suction machine can help remove saliva from your mouth.
  • Medicines may be used to reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth. These include pills, inhalers, injections, or patches.
  • Radiation therapy is used to stop saliva from forming in your salivary glands.
  • Surgery may be used to close or remove your salivary glands. It may also be used to kill the nerves that control the glands.

What self-care can I do?

  • Practice good oral care. Brush your teeth 2 times a day, 1 time in the morning and 1 time in the evening. Use a fluoride toothpaste. Floss your teeth 1 time each day, usually in the evening. Use alcohol-free mouthwash after you floss. Swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Good choices of liquids for most people include water, tea, soup, juice, or milk.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You choke and cannot breathe.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You continue to drool, even with treatment.
  • You have increased episodes of choking.
  • You have redness, pain, sores, or chapping in or around your mouth.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.