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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.