Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

October 21, 2020

October 21, 2020


Saliva is a bodily fluid with a unique composition. It is made up of 98% water. The other 2% comprises substances like mucus, electrolytes, enzymes and certain antibacterial compounds. Saliva plays a crucial role in digestion as well as oral health. A healthy person may produce anywhere between 750 ml to 1.5 litres of saliva in a day.

Sometimes, the salivary glands produce more saliva than usual. When this saliva gets accumulated in the mouth cavity, it may start to drip from the lower lip. This condition is called hypersalivation. It may be temporary or chronic, depending upon the underlying cause. Hypersalivation is also called ptyalism or sialorrhea.

A wide range of conditions may cause hypersalivation. For example

Treatment depends on the cause but may involve medicines, therapy (including therapy to help patients use the muscles of their mouth and throat better) and in some cases, surgery. Read on to know more.

Symptoms of hypersalivation

Hypersalivation is not a disease but a condition. The symptoms of this condition are as follows:

  • Bad breath
  • Infection around the mouth
  • Chapped lips
  • Disturbance in speech 
  • Pneumonia
  • Dehydration
  • Hypersalivation may also result in certain psychological symptoms such as social anxiety and problems with speaking and eating.

Causes of hypersalivation

Excessive saliva production can happen for a number of reasons. Usually, it is because of chronic conditions that have an impact on muscle control. People with sensory dysfunction might not even realise they are drooling. The major causes of hypersalivation are as stated below:

Diagnosis of hypersalivation

Hypersalivation in itself is just a condition that could be indicative of an underlying problem. To diagnose what is causing your hypersalivation, the doctor will begin by asking you a few questions about your medical history and your symptoms.

Next, he/she might examine the inside of your mouth to check for any inflammation, swelling or foul odour. For the correct diagnosis, a discussion about when hypersalivation occurs and the amount of saliva produced is necessary.

If you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, the doctor is likely to develop a treatment plan depending upon the severity of hypersalivation, your age, associated neurological conditions as well as the scope for improvement.

Read more: Glossitis or swollen tongue symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment

Hypersalivation treatment

Medication may be prescribed to reduce saliva production. Some anticholinergic drugs work by reducing nerve impulse to the salivary glands. Glycopyrrolate is a commonly prescribed anticholinergic medication for hypersalivation. However, it comes with side effects including blurred vision, constipation and dry mouth. Sometimes, botox injections may be recommended.  Treatment can also include beta-blockers.

In very severe cases, surgery could be recommended for the removal or relocation of salivary glands.

The most important thing to remember, however, is that the course of treatment depends on the underlying problem and its treatment.

Proper dental hygiene should be maintained as a generalised preventive measure. (Read more: Oral hygiene tips)

Hypersalivation outcome or prognosis

Hypersalivation is likely to resolve with treatment. Depending on the cause, it may also likely to get better on its own with time. The condition is common and a medical practitioner should be consulted for proper diagnosis.

If you have hypersalivation for a prolonged time, take care of the skin around your mouth and lips. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and consider getting speech therapy if you have difficulty speaking. Depending on the underlying condition, you might also consider seeing a dentist or therapist who can help you develop better control over the muscles of your throat, mouth and neck (people who have difficulty swallowing or holding their head up, etc., also tend to experience hypersalivation).

Read more: Home remedies for chapped lips


  1. Davydov L, Botts SR. Clozapine-Induced Hypersalivation. Clozapine-Induced Hypersalivation Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2000;34(5):662-665
  2. Syed R, Au K, Cahill C, Duggan L, He Y, Udu V, Xia J. Pharmacological interventions for clozapine‐induced hypersalivation Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD005579
  3. Kirk Withrow, Thomas Chung, Sialorrhea, Gland-Preserving Salivary Surgery, 10.1007/978-3-319-58335-8, (185-192), (2018

Medicines for Hypersalivation

Medicines listed below are available for Hypersalivation. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.