Drool – What Is It And How Can We Prevent It?
Sleeping soundly but waking up wet? Saliva on your face and stains on the pillows? Why do you drool while you sleep? There is nothing wrong with saliva . It serves several significant roles in our bodies: aiding in digestion, disinfecting our mouths and helping us speak by lubricating the mouth and tongue.
So, why exactly do we drool when we sleep?
The myriad of reasons run the gamut from simple to serious.
Reason We Drool #8 – Age
Babies drool. They can not yet control their facial muscles, so saliva escapes their mouths by day and by night. Expect some wet gurgles until they are around two years old.
Then, they will start to teethe. Aside from temper tantrums, expect another round of drool.
Reason We Drool #7 – Sleeping Positions
If you sleep on your side, you are more likely to wake up with wet patches. Human adults produce about two to four pints of saliva in a day. Sleeping in the fetal position causes saliva to gather on the side of the mouth and leak out.
Sleeping on your back allows for the natural digestion of saliva. Swallowing the spit while sleeping prevents it from ending up on the pillow.
Reason We Drool #6 – Stress
Here is one side effect you may not know: stress causes excessive salivation. Unfortunately, that means malodorous drool all over your face and pillow.
Moreover, stress degrades your sleep quality which may make you drool even more.
Reason We Drool #5 – Acidity
Acid reflux and its more chronic cousin, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), can cause excessive salivation.
Gastric acid , a common denominator of both, stimulates the esophagus which then excites the salivary glands. In their excitement, they will produce more saliva than you can swallow.
When you sleep, this excess saliva becomes drool.
Reason We Drool #4 – Allergies and Sinuses
Allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, some food allergies, the flu and even the common cold can cause drooling. These conditions block your nasal passages.
When that happens, breathing ensues through our mouths. While we are sleeping, drool can leak out.
Reason We Drool #3 – Throat Troubles
Tonsillitis and other forms of throat irritation may cause drooling.
When your tonsils are inflamed or the inside of your throat narrows due to infection, saliva will take the path of least resistance. Swallowing may be painful, so your body will expel saliva by relaxing those irritated muscles and allowing it out of the mouth, down the face and onto the pillow.
Reason We Drool #2 – Medications
Some medications such as morphine, certain antidepressants and pilocarpine may cause excessive production of saliva.
In these cases, drooling may become part of the nightly routine .
Reason We Drool #1 – Neurological Causes
More severe causes of drooling include neurological disorders.
Strokes, tumors, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease all cause excessive drooling.
In older children, the reason may be a developmental disorder. In these matters, it is best to consult your physician immediately.
6 Ways To Help Reducing Drool
When drooling starts intruding in everyday activities, it is time to take action. There are several non-invasive ways to treat drooling.
Dysfunction in our swallowing system  may cause drooling, but that dysfunction can usually be corrected and addressed.
Reduce Drooling Tip #1 – Make a Change
Change your sleeping position. Learn to sleep on your back, so saliva will not pool in the front of your mouth.
You will not drown in your own spit when you sleep. Our body’s auto reflex will prevent that. It is the same reflex that controls breathing or smacks an errant, biting mosquito while you sleep.
Reduce Drooling Tip #2 – Seek Therapy
Occupational and speech therapy can help improve  muscular control. Therapists can teach techniques on how to properly close the lips and swallow, strengthening the muscles through repetition.
Reduce Drooling Tip #3 – Drool Devices
Dental appliances, chin cups, and other oral devices may be used to help with mouth closure and swallowing.
Reduce Drooling Tip #4 – Injections
From patches to injections, drugs can help deal with the drool.
Botox and glycopyrrolate injections, scopolamine patches and prescription mouth drops will help treat excessive drooling. For all of these treatments, consult your physician.
Reduce Drooling Tip #5 – Tongue Acupuncture
Believe it or not, tongue acupuncture is used to treat excessive drooling.
However, finding skilled acupuncturists may be a challenge.
Reduce Drooling Tip #6 – Last-Resort Surgery
Surgery can reroute your salivary glands or completely remove them.
For severe medical conditions, drooling is accompanied by other significant symptoms.
If your only concern is occasional drooling, then the solution may be simple. If not, contact your medical professional.
 British Journal of Medical Practitioners, Management of Drooling of saliva, Ganesh Bavikatte, Poh Lin Sit, Ali Hassoon, March 2012.
 UChicago Medicine; Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
 B. Doctor Your Daily Medicine For Life; Drool While You Sleep? 6 Things May Be Causing It.
 Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology; Drooling of saliva: A review of the etiology and management options, Jean-Paul Meningaud, MD PhD FEBOMS, Poramate Pitak-Arnnop DDS OMS, Luc Chikhani MD, Jacques-Charles Bertrand MD, January 2006.
 Paralyzed Veterans of America; Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
 US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; BOTOX-A injection of salivary glands for drooling., Alvarenga, Campos, Dias, Melão, Estevão-Costa, August 2017.