Drool is extra saliva that flows out of our mouths. It may feel uncomfortable when drooling happens, but it happens only once in a while. With adults, drooling during sleep is common, but how often is always a question. While we sleep, our swallowing reflexes rest, just like muscles and all other body parts, including the face. During this resting period, saliva could accumulate and escape through the sides of our mouths. The medical terms for drooling more than usual are sialorrhea and hypersalivation.
For most times, drooling while sleeping is a common thing and can be stopped through simple changes. However, sometimes drooling is also a symptom of sleep disorder, neurological condition, or other health issues. Many reports suggest an increase in drooling after health events such as a stroke or cerebral palsy. However, there are many different causes for drooling.
What Causes Drooling?
Most minor things like wrong sleeping positions or sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can also cause drooling. Below are various causes as to why we drool.
People tend to drool more than usual due to nasal congestion. The reason could be an infection or a cold. Those who are inflamed regularly, have blocked sinus passages or narrow sinuses, experience drooling daily. Due to blocked sinuses, we tend to breathe through the mouth while sleeping. During this period of “mouth breathing,” you will experience more drooling than usual.
You may have never considered it a drooling factor, but your sleeping position is the most direct cause. The work of gravity is involved here- fascinating, right? Because the position you choose to sleep in often creates a drooling pool in your mouth. So, the people who sleep on their stomachs or side drool more than people who sleep on their backs.
People who breathe through their mouth during sleep or have narrow sinus passages tend to experience more drooling. The drool escapes when you open your mouth to breathe in sleep and don’t realize until it’s too late.
The condition is considered to be a severe sleep disorder. Sleep apnea can cause occasional breathing disruptions while sleeping. Thus, drooling is a significant risk factor for people suffering from sleep apnea. Those who suffer from this illness should immediately ask for help and get diagnosed.
If you think you don’t suffer from sleep apnea but drool a lot, ask yourself if you also experience other symptoms like:
- Loud snoring
- Waking up out of breath from sleep
- Experiencing a sore throat
- Waking up feeling startled
- Find it difficult to concentrate through the day
- Attention problems
- Feeling drowsy during the day
- Dry mouth upon waking
Along with drooling, if you experience other symptoms mentioned above, it’s better to consult a doctor.
Gastrointestinal Reflux Disorder (GERD) is a digestive cognition where the contents of your stomach damage the lining of your esophagus by flowing back. GERD can also cause dysphagia making it harder for you to swallow chewed food particles. You may experience a feeling of lump in your throat, and this problem could lead to excessive drooling. However, there are ways to control this problem with various home remedies.
Any condition that creates problems for swallowing is known as dysphagia, a swallowing disorder in layman’s terms. If you drool excessively, it might be a warning sign for you. Other illnesses such as MS, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, and other cancer conditions can also cause dysphagia.
The side effect of some medications can also make you prone to drooling. Medications used to treat Alzheimer’s and other antipsychotic drugs also cause excessive drooling. Many other medications can result in sialorrhea. However, not all medicines cause drooling. If you experience drooling through medications you shouldn’t, consult a doctor at the earliest for fitting solutions.
How to Stop Drooling?
One of the reasons for drooling during sleep is sleeping position, and the same can also be used to stop drooling. Along with that, below are some other ways to halt drooling while sleeping.
As per the American Dental Association, saliva plays a crucial role in protecting our bodies from external germs, diseases, and infections. Thus, it’s vital to maintain a healthy amount of saliva in the mouth. However, if you drool excessively, bite on a lemon edge to reduce it.
Some theories suggest that citrus helps in thinning saliva and making it look less like a pool. Another way to decrease the saliva pool is to keep yourself hydrated. It may sound absurd, but the theory helps. Staying hydrated will thin the saliva in your mouth and maintain the nominal amount.
Some people don’t like to take things slow and choose botox injections against hypersalivation. The treatment involves injecting botox into saliva glands. These injections will keep the mouth from overproducing saliva. However, the treatment is not permanent, and botox eventually wears off.
As mentioned above, switching your sleeping position can help in minimizing drooling while sleeping. Sleeping on your back can help better to control the overflow of drool during sleep. This sleeping position will control the flow of drooling and also not wet your pillow or the sides of your mouth. However, the key point to note is that a new sleeping position can also cause acid reflux or feeling stuffy. Keeping a note of these small changes can also give you clarity if, in case, you have deeper problems.
You can change your sleeping position with the use of a mattress that fits your sleeping criteria. For example, a soft or medium-soft mattress is always considered suitable for back sleepers. On the other hand, a firm mattress is always regarded as ideal for stomach sleepers. So if you sleep on a firm mattress, it puts extra pressure on the spine, which is not good. The best way to choose a good mattress for you that can help against drooling is to visit a mattress store. At Mancini’s Sleepworld, the sleep experts can help you find the perfect mattress to solve all your sleep problems.