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What Is Hypersalivation?

K.C. Bruning
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Hypersalivation is excessive saliva flow. It is also known as sialorrhea and ptyalism. The condition can be caused by both temporary and permanent conditions such as extreme oral inflammation, some kinds of neurologic disorders, or external trauma such as dental appliances that do not fit properly. It will present itself either as copious saliva in the mouth or drool. In addition to excess production of saliva, a patient with the condition will often also swallow frequently.

Patients with this condition who drool do so for a variety of reasons. Some cannot swallow properly and thus have no other outlet for excess saliva. Others are not able to close their mouths, whether due to physical or mental causes.

There are many diseases which can lead to hypersalivation. Some of the most common include liver disease, serotonin syndrome, and pancreatitis. Schizophrenia, mental retardations, and some kinds of neurologic disorders can also cause the condition.

Problems in the mouth can also cause this disorder. These can include oral infections, mouth ulcers, and any other condition that causes excessive inflammation in the oral cavity. External trauma from improperly fitted dental hardware such as braces can also be a cause.

In some cases, hypersalivation is caused by poor drainage from the oral cavity, rather than excessive production of saliva. Common causes of this problem include oral abscesses, radiation, and any other causes of infections in the area. Physical abnormalities such as a fracture in the jaw may also lead to the condition.

Some of the more benign temporary causes of hypersalivation include pregnancy and teething. It can also be brought on by problems such as malnutrition and alcoholism. An overload of starch intake can also cause the problem.

Hypersalivation can also be the body’s reaction to poisoning from toxins. Common culprits include copper, organophosphates, and arsenic. Mercury poisoning, known as mercurialism, can also be a cause.

The condition can also be caused by certain medications. These include ketamine, clozapine, and pilocarpine. Risperidone and potassium chlorate may also cause excessive saliva production.

In most cases, hypersalivation is managed via treatment of the underlying condition. While there is not a common direct treatment, proper dental hygiene can help to manage the condition. This is because activities such as using mouthwash and brushing teeth can help to dry the mouth. If it is not caused by a permanent condition, in most cases it will subside once its cause has been addressed.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
K.C. Bruning
By K.C. Bruning
Kendahl Cruver Bruning, a versatile writer and editor, creates engaging content for a wide range of publications and platforms, including The Health Board. With a degree in English, she crafts compelling blog posts, web copy, resumes, and articles that resonate with readers. Bruning also showcases her passion for writing and learning through her own review site and podcast, offering unique perspectives on various topics.
Discussion Comments
By shahsahib — On Dec 19, 2013

Hyper saliva is a very big problem for me. Please help me. What should I do? This problem happens when I am going to sleep. When i fall asleep, then my saliva is activated 5 or 7 times at night. It does not happen during the day. I have put a cup in my bedroom for this problem. Please give me a suggestion for treatment.

By burcidi — On Jun 11, 2013

Is anyone taking medications for hypersalivation?

I heard that amitriptyline is effective. Has anyone tried it?

By serenesurface — On Jun 11, 2013

Antipsychotic drugs cause hypersalivation. I had it for a while when I was on an antipsychotic drug. It affected me during the day too, but it was very bad at night because I had less control over my mouth. I would wake up multiple times until morning and find my pillow completely drenched. Eventually, I started putting a towel on the pillow.

Thankfully, I don't need any antipsychotics anymore and I don't have to deal with this side effect.

By SteamLouis — On Jun 10, 2013

My boyfriend's cat had this once. It was kind of scary because he started drooling excessively all of the sudden. He was taking deep breaths and couldn't control his saliva.

I asked my boyfriend if he did anything out of the ordinary and he told me that he had sprayed a flea medication on him just an hour ago.

I looked up that spray and found out that it causes an allergic reaction in some cats and one symptom is hypersalivation. We wiped his fur and threw out the spray. He returned to normal after a few hours.

K.C. Bruning
K.C. Bruning
Kendahl Cruver Bruning, a versatile writer and editor, creates engaging content for a wide range of publications and...
Learn more
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