Why do we drool in our sleep?

People drool when they sleep because they have difficulty swallowing or holding saliva while they are not conscious. People with excess saliva production or drooling problems while awake can experience significant problems related to this while sleeping. There are health problems associated with excessive saliva production that lead some people to seek treatment to address the problem. Treatment may be provided by a general practitioner, neurologist, or other medical specialists, depending on the underlying cause.

The salivary glands are in continuous production, generating saliva to lubricate the mouth. Saliva production increases when people eat. The mouth is designed to help people retain this fluid, and people swallow regularly to allow it to drain into the stomach so it can be eliminated from the body. While you sleep, the mechanisms for keeping saliva in your mouth and swallowing it may not work as well; Swallowing reflexes, for example, may be less active.

In babies, drooling during sleep is very common because the reflexes involved have not yet been formed and have not yet been refined. In adults, some drooling is normal, but excessive amounts may be a sign of an underlying medical problem. People with certain neurological disorders may have difficulty controlling their saliva while asleep or awake. Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, stroke, facial paralysis, and Alzheimer's disease may be associated with this problem. Pregnant women may also start to produce more saliva than usual.

People may also find that they experience drooling in their sleep when they are not feeling well. For these individuals, there may be an increase in saliva production associated with a period of poor health, followed by a decrease. Certain medications can also increase saliva production and cause drooling that becomes more noticeable during sleep. If people notice that they seem to be producing more saliva than usual or are having trouble holding it in, they can consult a medical professional to discuss possible causes and treatment options.

In addition to soiling bedding, drooling can become a problem because people may be at risk of inhaling the liquid or developing other problems. There are some medications that can sometimes address this problem, and patients also sometimes benefit from physical therapy to develop stronger reflexes. Such therapy can also help people with speech and eating if they are having difficulties. Surgery on the salivary glands may be another option, although it is usually a treatment of last resort.

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