Sialorrhea and Drooling

Mouth | General Practice | Sialorrhea and Drooling (Symptom)


Drooling is the accidental leakage of saliva from the mouth. Drooling may occur with any condition limiting neuromuscular control of the muscles around the mouth, which increases production of saliva, or affecting swallowing. Cerebral palsy is an example of a condition in which altered neuromuscular control result in drooling. Medically, it is called ptyalism drooling and the excess saliva is called sialorrhea.


Drooling is common in infants because of the immature muscle control. It is defined as an exacerbation of oesophageal-salivary reflex and can be produced from an excessive parasympathetic stimulation. However, drooling is considered a sign indicative of pathology of the upper gastrointestinal tract. In children the most common cause is tooth growth. Drooling may also be a classic side effect of muscarinic cholinergic drugs or chemotherapy such as cisplatin. It is also caused by organophosphate and carbamate poisoning.